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

Note: CPE credit is not offered on this program

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

Conducted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will provide estate planners with an advanced guide to drafting and structuring supplemental needs trusts and special needs trusts (SNTs). The panelist 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 Evan H. Farr, CELA, Partner at Farr Law Firm, provides a detailed and practical guide to structuring SNTs funded by retirement accounts. The presenter 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 panelist 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


Farr, Evan
Evan H. Farr, CELA

Farr Law Firm

He is one of the top U.S. experts on Medicaid asset protection and related trusts. A Certified Elder Law Attorney and...  |  Read More

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