Building a Trustee-beneficiary Relationship

Community Trust assigns a Clinical Relationship Coordinator to every new trust account, as one of the first steps that we take to begin the relationship.  Coordinators are licensed social workers whose job is to help Community Trust to know and understand our beneficiaries, and to help our beneficiaries to have a good experience in our programs.  Coordinators are assigned to both Pooled Trust and individual Special Needs Trust beneficiaries.  They meet with Trust Administrators in weekly Rounds to address specific requests, circumstances, and cases that need attention and expertise from the entire team. 

Role of the Clinical Relationship Coordinator

Coordinators meet with the beneficiary and/or their responsible parties as soon as is practical after the creation of the trust.  They first contact the individual or the responsible party to request the visit, and once contact is made, they arrange a time for a visit.  If possible, the Coordinator will invite caregivers or responsible parties to participate in the visit.

Coordinators are trained to understand the sometimes complex balancing of support needs with the amount of funds actually available for support.  They can help the parties consider plans that meet the most urgent needs, while maintaining enough money in the account to serve the beneficiary’s needs for a lifetime, if possible.  For small accounts, working out spending plans often is not an easy job, because the resources in the account are limited.

Coordinator visits have several purposes.  One is to put a “face” with our name.  Another purpose is to answer the beneficiary’s questions about the trust and how it operates.  Yet another purpose is to gather information from caregivers and family or friends about the condition and needs of the beneficiary.  Finally, the visit encourages all of the parties to begin thinking about how best the trust account can be used to enhance the life experience of the beneficiary.  If at all possible, one outcome of the visit is an initial plan for the use of funds. 

Whether a Coordinator maintains regular contact after an initial meeting with the beneficiary and/or responsible parties depends upon the circumstances.  In some cases, there are follow-up phone calls or visits for weeks, months or longer.  Other cases do not require, or do not want, further contact.  Generally, if there has been no other contact from a beneficiary or responsible party for a year or more, the Coordinator will call or visit to determine the current needs and circumstances of that individual.

Clinical Relationship Coordiantors do not provide clinical services of any kind to our beneficiaries.  They have no duty to diagnose, provide, refer or otherwise engaging in clinical treatments of any kind.  A Coordinator’s assessment of a beneficiary and case notes are proprietary and not subject to disclosure to the beneficiary or responsible parties.  We hope that our Coordinator’s work and interactions may be of value to the beneficiary, but no clinical relationship is established thereby.

If a beneficiary has need for ongoing clinical support from a Social Worker, and if there are funds in the trust account sufficient for the purpose, Community Trust will retain a private provider to work with the beneficiary as needed.