What is a pooled special needs trust?

A pooled special needs trust is administered by a nonprofit organization. The following briefly summarizes the services provided:

  • Makes decisions on how funds from the trust are disbursed on behalf of a trust beneficiary.
  • Makes decision on who manages and invests the trust funds.
  • Fulfills reporting requirements to government agencies.
  • Stays abreast of changing regulations such as the Social Security Administration’s Program Operations Manual Systems and state Medicaid policies so that means-tested government benefits are not jeopardized (for clients who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits).

Each beneficiary’s funds are placed in an individual sub account. The cash assets from all sub accounts are then “pooled” together, and invested as a group. Pooling the funds reduces administrative fees and increases the principal for investment purposes. Earnings based on the Beneficiary’s share of the principal are reinvested into each sub account. A financial record is maintained for each sub account that reflects all the activity in the account.

The Board of Directors of Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT) selected Trust Company of Virginia (TCVA) to manage and invest the trust funds. TCVA is a financial institution with trust powers, located in Virginia. Trust funds are conservatively invested. The Investment Committee of CCT’s Board of Directors provides oversight and meets quarterly with TCVA. The staff of TCVA makes a presentation to the full Board annually and the Board of Directors votes on the Investment Policy.

The advocate, named in the Joinder Agreement when a trust is established, has the option of receiving quarterly financial statements in the mail or accessing financial information about the trust account online at the TCVA website.

CCT administers the following types of pooled special needs trusts:

Commonwealth Community Trust’s Master Trust Agreements allow CCT to administer the trusts under the umbrella of the “master.”  The Master Trust Agreements were written by an estate planning attorney with legal expertise in special need planning and signed by the CCT Board of Directors and TCVA.