After his parents died, Samuel, who has an intellectual disability, needed to stay in a residential home for support for his care. But the 40-year-old had a problem. He could not pay the home, even though his parents had left him a four-room HDB flat.
His late father’s relatives had moved into the flat and refused to leave, so he could not sell the place.
Luckily for Samuel, his cousin stepped in and successfully applied to court to be appointed his deputy. This meant the cousin could make certain decisions on behalf of Samuel, including selling the flat.
The $300,000 from selling the flat was put into a trust fund managed by the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC). Besides the monthly fees for the residential home, other expenses that can be disbursed from the trust are drawn up in a detailed care plan by SNTC’s case managers and Samuel’s cousin.
“Setting up an SNTC trust is good for me,” said Samuel’s 57-year-old cousin. “I am relieved that there is long-term financial security for Samuel for the rest of his life.”
Without an SNTC trust, Samuel’s cousin may not be able to discharge his duties as a deputy when he gets older. Besides monitoring the trust funds and care plan, SNTC also supports Samuel through periodic home visits to check on his well-being.
SNTC is a non-profit trust company that provides trust management services for persons with special needs. Founded in 2008, SNTC supports caregivers who are concerned about the future financial security of their dependants who have special needs.
SNTC is supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Public Trustee’s Office. The ministry reports that around 3% of Singapore’s 3.9 million resident population aged between 18 and 49 have disabilities. The percentage for those older than 50 shoots up to 13%.
If you are a caregiver of persons with special needs, setting up a trust allows you to safeguard your financial assets for their future needs. You can also plan for the future care of your dependant.
Characteristics of an SNTC trust
- Money in trusts is guaranteed by the government.
- Trusts are irrevocable, meaning the funds are safeguarded solely for the special needs beneficiary.
- SNTC's case managers develop a care plan together with the settlor (the caregiver that sets up the trust). This allows an accurate projection of expenses for future care needs. The plan is also regularly reviewed with the settlor to factor in any changing needs.
- After a trust is activated, SNTC conducts periodic home visits to check on the well-being of the beneficiary.
Building up the trust
The SNTC trust can be topped up with cash any time, by anyone. Caregivers can also top up the trust through a will, CPF nominations, and insurance nominations.
When making your will, you should consider the following:
- If you have joint ownership on certain assets, both parties must agree on the distribution of these assets.
- You can only transfer cash proceeds into the SNTC trust.
- For other forms of your estate that are distributed directly to your dependant with special needs, such as property, a deputy needs to be appointed to manage these assets if your dependant lacks mental capacity.
NoteInstead of naming your dependant, you should name the trust account as the beneficiary in your will, and nominee in your CPF and insurance policies.
For more details, visit SNTC’s website or contact them at 62789598 or firstname.lastname@example.org for other queries or to make an appointment.