Structuring Special Needs Trusts as IRA Beneficiaries: Avoiding Tax Traps in Funding SNTs With Retirement Accounts

Recording of a 90-minute CLE/CPE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE/CPE webinar will provide estate planners with an advanced guide to drafting and structuring supplemental needs trusts and special needs trusts (SNTs). The panel will focus on considerations such as setting up trusts to serve as beneficiaries of retirement accounts, drafting language, and traps to avoid in structuring third-party SNTs as well as first-party SNTs.


A critical step in establishing an SNT is determining how to fund the trust. Taxpayers may use some assets, including IRAs, to fund an SNT. There are, however, some critical issues that estate planners must navigate to ensure that the trust is structured to preserve public benefits and to provide for the special needs beneficiary in a tax-efficient manner.

Estate planners also have the option of utilizing ABLE accounts in conjunction with, or as an alternative to, SNTs. In structuring an estate plan to provide for a beneficiary with special needs, counsel must be mindful of contribution and funding rules and the impact of the trust structure on future public benefits.

Listen as our panel provides a detailed and practical guide to structuring SNTs funded by retirement accounts. The presenters will discuss how to properly structure trust documents to avoid unwanted tax traps, including sample language and beneficiary structures.



  1. Evaluating SNT structures (first-party vs. third-party)
  2. Drafting practices for SNTs
  3. Funding the trust
  4. Special considerations when using retirement accounts to fund SNTs
  5. See-through provisions unique to SNTs
  6. Illustrations and sample language


The panel will review these and other critical issues:

  • How to structure beneficiary designations within the conduit trust rules
  • Funding options and requirements of IRAs and other retirement accounts
  • Avoiding the “five-year rule”
  • Integrating ABLE accounts with SNTs
  • Pre-trust strategies


Brogan, Robert
Robert F. Brogan

Brogan Law Group

Mr. Brogan's boutique practice focuses exclusively on elder law, special needs planning and asset protection. He...  |  Read More

Rubin, Benjamin
Benjamin A. (Benji) Rubin, JD, LLM (Tax)

Rubin Law

Mr. Rubin focuses his practice on providing legal advice for families of individuals with special needs, including...  |  Read More

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