Monday, December 12, 2011

Special Needs Trusts Anyone?

Here's a topic that's over my head--Special Needs Trusts.

In his recent November 23, 2011 Opinion in the case of Watkins v. Baron, No. 10  - CV - 3161 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Nov. 23, 2011 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas tackled the topic when he addressed a request by a personal injury Plaintiff for the court's approval of her creation of an "Irrevocable Special Needs Trust" to hold her settlement proceeds as a way of preserving the Plaintiff's right to continue to separately receive her public assistance benefits, including Social Security Disability Benefits and Pennsylvania Department of Welfare Medicaid benefits.

The Plaintiff proposed that the Special Needs Trust would be funded by her settlement proceeds and would serve as a vehicle to supplement her receipt of the other noted benefits.

The Plaintiff provided documentation to the court that confirmed that the Social Security Administration and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare did not have any objections to the creation of this trust.

After reviewing the law supporting the creation these types of Trusts, Judge Nealon granted the Plaintiff's motion and approved the creation of the Special Needs Trust. 

This case may be a good one to have in a situation where the amicable resolution of a personal injury matter may be held up by a Plaintiff's fear of impacting his or her ability to receive other benefits.  Anyone desiring a copy of this decision may contact me at

I thank Attorney Brian Urban of the Pottsville law firm of The Law Offices of Anthony Urban for bringing this case to my attention.

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