Can a Special Needs Trust Own a House?


When it comes to planning for the future of a loved one with special needs, a special needs trust can be a valuable tool. One common question that arises is whether a special needs trust can own a house. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question and provide a deeper understanding of how a special needs trust can be used to provide housing for individuals with special needs.

Understanding Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust, is a legal arrangement that protects an individual’s assets while still allowing them to receive government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A trustee manages the trust and is responsible for spending the trust funds to improve the quality of life of the individual with special needs.

Is it possible for a Special Needs Trust to own a house?

A special needs trust can, in fact, purchase a home. In reality, buying a house through a special needs trust can offer the individual with special needs with stability and security. However, there are several significant factors to consider.

1. Qualified Expense for Housing

The acquisition of a home by a special needs trust must be deemed a qualified expense. This means that the dwelling must directly benefit the person with special needs and be used as their primary residence. The house should be appropriate for their specific needs and not used for rental or investment motives.

2. The Role and Responsibilities of a Trustee

The trustee of the special needs trust is in charge of the trust’s assets, including the residence. They must guarantee that the residence is properly maintained, that taxes and insurance are paid, and that any necessary repairs or alterations to fit the individual’s needs are completed. When it comes to living circumstances, the trustee should also consider the individual’s interests and wants.

3. The Effect on Government Benefits

It is critical to evaluate how owning a home through a special needs trust affects government benefits. Medicaid and SSI both have severe asset and income limits, and having a home may influence eligibility for these programs. However, by properly constructing the trust and adhering to the government’s requirements, the impact on beneficiaries can be minimized.

The Benefits of Owning a Home Through a Special Needs Trust

Owning a home through a special needs trust provides various benefits:

1. Security and stability

Individuals with special needs benefit enormously from having a stable and secure place to call home. It gives people a sense of belonging, freedom, and a place to create memories.

2. Flexibility and control

The trustee can ensure that the individual’s specialized needs are satisfied by owning the house through a special needs trust. They can modify the home to suit disabilities and create a safe and comfortable living environment.

3. Asset Protection

Purchasing a home through a special needs trust shields an individual’s assets from being counted as countable resources for means-tested government benefits. This enables the client to continue receiving assistance without endangering their eligibility.


A special needs trust can own a home, providing those with special needs with a stable and secure living situation. To minimize the impact on government benefits, it is critical to ensure that the house purchase is recognized a qualified expense and that the trust is properly constituted and managed. Consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in special needs planning can assist in navigating the intricacies of owning a home through a special needs trust while also ensuring that the individual’s best interests are safeguarded.

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