Rockland Trust Special Needs Services

Caring for a loved one with a disability

Special needs trusts (SNTs) can play an important role in helping families plan and provide for the needs of their loved one with special needs. If they qualify for government benefits, you’ll want to ensure that their eligibility is preserved into the future, all while enhancing their lifestyle.

Trusts fall into two main categories: self-settled trusts sometimes referred to as a “First-Party Special Needs Trust” that the beneficiary creates for themselves with their own money, and third-party trusts that one person creates and funds for the benefit of someone else. A self-settled trust is appropriate for an individual who is disabled coming into an inheritance or receiving proceeds from a personal injury or medical malpractice claim; a third-party trust is best for a family member planning for a loved one with special needs, or one spouse planning for a spouse with a disability. Both categories have their own rules that affect the drafting, funding and administration and as such, require professional expertise on the topic.

Partnering with Rockland Trust's Special Needs Services team takes the complexity out of planning and gives you comfort in knowing the necessary steps have been taken to preserve both your family’s assets and anticipated government benefits. Our specialists offer not only expertise on the topic, but compassion and financial guidance to ensure your loved one is set up to live their best life.

couple hands during sunset



Selecting a Trustee

Choosing a trustee is one of the most important parts of planning for an individual with special needs. The trustee of a special needs trust must be able to fulfill all of the normal functions of a trustee – accounting, investments, tax returns, and distributions – and also be able to meet the needs of the beneficiary. This includes an understanding of various public benefits programs, sensitivity to the needs of the beneficiary, and knowledge of services that may be available.

As an extension of Rockland Trusts’ comprehensive wealth management offering, our special needs service helps relieve the administrative burden and complexities of managing such a trust and provides peace of mind. Our team offers a tailored approach to meet each individual and family need. Services can include:

  • Trust administration – act as sole trustee or co-trustee and offer a line of defense against undue influence that is not in the best interest of a trust beneficiary. Administrative duties include:
    • Bill payment
    • Budgeting to meet current and future cash flow needs
    • Compliance with trust terms to remain eligible for state/government benefits (i.e. SSI, SSDI, Medicaid/MassHealth, Medicare)
    • Work closely with family, guardian and caregivers to balance physical needs with financial needs
    • Maintain transactional records and provide periodic reporting
    • Provide accounting required by court and any outside authorities
    • Tax preparation for trust
  • Collaborate with Legal Advisors
  • Management Investment Portfolio
  • Assist with navigating the benefits system if a guardian or parent is not present to do so
  • Execute distributions according to the trust terms to minimize impact on eligibility for benefits and adjust to future events
  • Additional needs-based services available include insurance, financial planning, personal banking, and more

senior couple talking with financial advisor



A Brighter Tomorrow Begins With Planning Today

Special needs planning is complex and technical, and the laws that govern special needs trusts differ from state to state. Planning today for the future can ensure the highest quality of life for your family member. Rockland Trust's Special Needs Services team has direct experience helping with the planning needs of families of individuals with disabilities. In addition, the team has a thorough understanding of the income, gift, and estate tax consequences that must be considered when funding and administering a special needs trust and can help you properly plan for your loved ones future.




Helpful Resources





Rockland Trust Special Needs Services Appears on No Shame in this Money Game Podcast
Every family is unique and their financial needs for the future, and the future of the children, can differ. Many families set up trusts but if you have children with special needs or relatives who struggle with mental illness, a special needs trusts may be a good financial tool for you. In this episode of the No Shame in this Money Game podcast, Scott Scales and June Zito, both Relationship Managers at Rockland Trust’s Investment Management Group, talk about the when, how, and why you would need a special needs trust in your family’s financial plan.

Listen to the Interview with Scott Scales and June Zito on the Ms. Money podcast



Contact us today to learn more.

Scott Scales
Vice President & Relationship Manager
300 East Main Street
Milford, MA 01757
Phone: (508) 946-8764
Contact Scott
June Zito
Vice President & Relationship Manager
10 Memorial Blvd.
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (508) 732-3335
Contact June

Academy of Special Needs Services Planner