The Social Security Act 1991 was amended in 2006 to enable families to create a trust to provide funding for needs of family members with severe disabilities. A special disability trust is usually of most benefit where the beneficiary relies on a special disability support pension and the amount intended to be gifted to the trust exceeds the asset test limits. If you have a family member for whom you wish to provide, a special disability trust can be created through your will and activated upon your death.

The trust can only pay for reasonable accommodation, and care costs related to the disability, medical expenses including health insurance, maintenance expenses on trust assets and up to $12,000 a year discretionary expenditure. Consideration about the suitability of a special disability trust is part of broader estate planning and advice will need to be sought regarding asset value limits, taxation and in some instances, financial planning.

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