Navigating Trusts for Personal Injury Settlements: A Comprehensive Guide

graphic that spells personal injury

Experiencing a personal injury can be a life-altering event, often resulting in significant financial challenges. However, when compensation is awarded through a settlement or judgment, managing those funds wisely becomes paramount. Establishing a trust for a personal injury settlement is a strategic way to safeguard the funds, ensuring long-term financial stability while preserving eligibility for government benefits. In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of trusts for personal injury settlements and why they’re crucial for securing a brighter future.

Understanding Trusts for Personal Injury Settlements

A trust for a personal injury settlement is a legal arrangement designed to manage and protect the funds awarded to an individual as compensation for their injuries. These trusts are established to address several key concerns:

  1. Preserving Government Benefits Eligibility: Individuals who receive needs-based government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) risk losing eligibility if their settlement funds exceed certain thresholds. By placing the funds into a trust, the individual can maintain eligibility for these crucial benefits.
  2. Protecting Settlement Funds: Settlement funds are often substantial and must be protected from creditors, mismanagement, and depletion. A trust provides a structured framework for managing and preserving these funds, ensuring they are used for the individual’s long-term benefit.
  3. Managing Long-Term Care Costs: Personal injury settlements often include compensation for ongoing medical expenses and long-term care needs. A trust can be used to cover these costs while ensuring that the funds are managed responsibly and efficiently.

Types of Trusts for Personal Injury Settlements

Several types of trusts may be utilized to manage personal injury settlement funds, each with its own advantages and considerations:

  1. First-Party Special Needs Trust (SNT): Also known as a “self-settled” trust, this type of trust is funded with the individual’s own assets, typically from a personal injury settlement. It allows the individual to retain eligibility for needs-based government benefits while using the trust funds to supplement their care and quality of life.
  2. Third-Party Special Needs Trust: Established and funded by someone other than the injured individual, such as a family member or loved one. This type of trust can be used to provide additional support and resources without impacting the beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefits.
  3. Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) Trust: Specifically designed for individuals who are Medicare beneficiaries and have incurred injuries covered by Medicare. MSA trusts set aside a portion of the settlement funds to cover future medical expenses related to the injury, ensuring compliance with Medicare regulations.

Benefits of Trusts for Personal Injury Settlements

Utilizing a trust to manage personal injury settlement funds offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Preservation of Benefits Eligibility: By placing funds into a trust, individuals can maintain eligibility for crucial needs-based government benefits.
  • Asset Protection: Trusts shield settlement funds from creditors, ensuring they are used solely for the individual’s benefit.
  • Long-Term Financial Security: Trusts provide a structured framework for managing funds and ensuring they last throughout the individual’s lifetime, even when faced with ongoing medical expenses.
  • Peace of Mind: Families gain peace of mind knowing that their loved one’s financial future is secure and that the settlement funds will be managed responsibly.


Navigating the complexities of personal injury settlements requires careful planning and consideration. Establishing a trust for settlement funds is a strategic step towards ensuring long-term financial stability and protecting eligibility for government benefits. Consulting with an experienced attorney specializing in trusts for personal injury settlements is essential to create a tailored plan that meets the unique needs of the individual. By investing in a trust today, individuals can secure a brighter and more secure future for themselves and their loved ones. If you find yourself in the position to consult a special needs trust attorney, please feel free to reach out to us at Forbes Law Firm, serving Davidson, Cornelius, Mooresville, Huntersville, and the greater Lake Norman and Charlotte areas. We’re here to provide expert guidance and support every step of the way.