Estate Planning and Consideration to Special Disability Trusts

Estate Planning – Special Disability Trusts


Special disability trusts came into effect on 20 September 2006 and can be utilised in estate planning where a person wishes to leave a bequest to an immediate family member who has a severe disability.

The purpose of a Special Disability Trust is to provide care and accommodation needs to a person with a severe disability.


A person with a “severe disability” is someone who is:

1.16 years of age and over and:

a) whose level of impairment would qualify the person for Disability Support Pension or who is already receiving a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Invalidity Service Pension or DVA Invalidity Income Support Supplement;

b) who has a disability that would, if the person had a sole carer, qualify the carer for Carer Payment or Carer Allowance; or who is living in an institution, hostel or group home where care is provided for people with disabilities and funding is provided under an agreement between the Commonwealth, states and territories; and

c) who has a disability and is unable to work more than seven hours a week in the open labour market

2.Under 16 years of age and:

a) who is a person with a severe disability or a severe medical condition

b) who has a carer who has been given a qualifying rating of “intense” under the Disability Care Load Assessment (Child) Determination for caring for that person, and

c) who has had a treating health professional certify in writing that, because of that disability or condition the person will need personal care for six months or more, and the personal care is required to be provided by a specified number of persons.


Special Disability Trusts are created under part 3.18A of the Social Security Act 1991 and can be established through a Will.

A major benefit of utilising a Special Disability Trust is that the beneficiary will receive income test and asset test exemptions from the means testing rules of Centrelink.

Currently trust income and assets to the value of $724,750 (indexed each year) will not affect a Special Disability Trust beneficiary’s pension.

Further if a principal residence of the beneficiary is held through a Special Disability Trust this is also exempt from means testing.


For assistance in establishing a Special Disability Trust or for any other Estate Planning services please contact the team at Miller Sockhill Lawyers on (07) 5444 4750.

You may also be interested in reading our other articles on Passing Away Without a Will and Providing For Your Pets in Your Will.