At Milestone, our settlement planning experts frequently help individuals and families set up pooled special needs trusts to comply with government benefits like Medicaid. In a nutshell, a pooled trust is administered by a nonprofit organization to manage and protect people’s assets and maintain eligibility for benefits. The money in the trust can then supplement an individual’s benefits’ coverage without replacing the benefits.
Pooled trusts are also a good option for families of modest means because since the assets are pooled together, the trust is able to maximize the return on investment and at the same time reduce the cost of administration and management.
In most of these cases, becoming a member of an already established pooled trust requires signing what’s known as a joinder agreement. This document outlines the terms of the trust’s membership and is very important to thoroughly understand. To ensure you receive the right information, consider asking these questions prior to signing a joinder agreement:
- What are the upfront fees, transactional fees, recurring annual fees, and fees on termination?
- How many staff members work for the trust?
- What is a typical response time for a requested distribution?
- What happens to the money in the trust if my child dies?
- What experience do the trust officers have in determining if a requested distribution is allowable?
- What distributions are typically allowable?
Most joinder agreements are irrevocable, which means you will be stuck with the trustee you initially chose once you sign. That’s why it’s important to get the advice of an attorney and/or a settlement planner before officially agreeing to anything. Instead of spending months researching and then hoping for the best, an expert can help guide you through the decision-making process.
About John Bair
John Bair has guided thousands of plaintiffs through the settlement process as co-founder of Milestone Consulting, LLC, a broad-based settlement planning and management firm. Milestone’s approach is comprehensive and future-focused. John’s team has guided thousands of clients by taking the time to understand the complexities of each case. They assess the best outcome and find the path that enables each client to manage their many needs. Read more about Milestone Consulting at http://milestoneseventh.com/.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).