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Financial Planning > Trusts and Estates > Trust Planning

Democrats, Republicans join to fix trust glitch

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Lawmakers from both parties are trying to fix a federal trust law glitch that plagues people with disabilities who are planning for their own financial needs.

Republicans have joined with Democrats to support a bill that would let people with disabilities create their own special needs trust accounts.

People with disabilities use special needs trusts to pay for daily living expenses not covered by Medicaid or by Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Federal law lets parents, grandparents and legal guardians of people with disabilities to set up the trusts.

The law does not let people with disabilities — even working adults with disabilities who live on their own and have no living parents or guardians — set up their own special needs trusts. Adults with disabilities and no guardians must go through an expensive legal process to get authorization to set up their own trusts.

Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., have introduced the House version of the trust fix bill, H.R. 2123.

The Senate version of the bill, S. 1672, was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.

The list of groups backing the bills includes the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys and the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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