Recent changes to Special Disability Trusts

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Written by James Kelly 

Special Disability Trusts

A Special Disability Trust is a safety net that can be established to provide for the long-term care and financial support of individuals with disabilities once their families or loved ones are gone. This type of trust is designed to assist people that have a disability that significantly affects their everyday functioning and who require ongoing support and assistance.

The primary purpose of a Special Disability Trust is to enhance the quality of life of the person with a disability. It allows for the provision of funds to meet the individuals disability-related expenses such as accommodation, medical care, and therapeutic services.  

A special disability trust is typically managed by a trustee who has the responsibility to oversee the trust’s assets and make decisions in the best interest of the beneficiary with a disability. The trustee can be a family member, friend, or a professional trustee. It is important that the Trustee is aware of any and all changes to the laws surrounding a special disability trust.


As we all know, 1 July each year brings in changes to a whole raft of things. Most commonly fees and charges increase. One of the changes in the area of special disability trusts is for an increase in the amount of the “assets test assessment exemption”.

On 1 July 2022 the figure was $724,750. On 1 July 2023 that amount increased to $781.250.00. That means you can gift up to that amount into a special disability trust for a disabled family member and up to that amount is not means tested.

This provides a good opportunity for those in our family who meet the eligibility criteria to make sure they are provided for either during or after your life ends.

There is also an annual discretionary spend amount for the disabled family member and that amount also increased on 1 July to $13,000.00 pa.

If you are not aware of the benefits of special disability trusts and you have a family member with a disability and would like to discover more as you plan for the future and to take care of a person with a disability please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.



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