NJ Supreme Court Permits Disabled Child of Retired Fireman to Designate Special Needs Trust as Beneficiary of State Pension Plan
Reversing contrary decisions by lower courts and administrative agencies, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the disabled child of a retired fireman may have his survivors’ benefits paid into a special needs trust rather than directly to the child, thereby allowing the child to maintain eligibility for Medicaid and other public benefits based on financial need.
This Order reformed the will of Anna King to establish a testamentary Supplemental Benefits Trust (“SBT”) for the benefit of her disabled daughter Karen. If she inherited her share of her mother’s estate without the creation of a SBT, Karen would have been rendered ineligible for the SSI, Medicaid and other public benefits she was receiving as a result of her disability. By amending the parent’s will, we were able to avoid including a “pay back” provision in the SBT, permitting any remainder in trust after Karen died to be distributed to the decedent’s family rather than the State of New Jersey.
This Order amended the existing testamentary trust in the will of Leonard Manko to establish a testamentary Supplemental Benefits Trust (“SBT”)Trust for the decedent’s disabled sons, Michael Manko and Karol Manko. The reformation of the testamentary trust preserved Leonard Manko’s two disabled sons’ inheritance while protecting their current or future eligibility for needs-based public benefits.
In the Matter of the Estate of Ann Brown (Order Authorizing Creation and Funding of Supplemental Benefits Trust)
This Order created a Supplemental Benefits Trust (“SBT”) for Donald Brown, who inherited his mother’s estate after she died intestate. This is the first Order in New Jersey to establish a SBT for a disabled beneficiary of an intestate estate.
By the creation of a SBT after his mother’s death, Donald Brown was able to receive the inheritance from his mother’s estate, even though she died without a will, and protect his eligibility for public benefits.
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