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How a special needs trust can help plan for the future

A child or adult who has special needs often faces an uncertain financial future. The inability to work and the consequential inability to provide financial support often make financial planning impossible. For Georgians, the state provides a legal mechanism that removes much of this uncertainty. The device is called a special needs trust.

Government assistance programs, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, provide state assistance to the disabled and similar programs often have income or asset limitations on eligibility. If a person with special needs has income-producing assets provided either by an inheritance or the settlement of a legal case, the amounts in these cases often exceed the specified limits, thereby making the patient ineligible for crucial government assistance.

The solution is the establishment of a special needs trust. These trusts set aside money belonging to the disabled person and place the money in a trust fund administered by a bank or similar entity. The trust must be established in compliance with Georgia statutes that authorize and regulate such trusts. The trustee must obey the instructions of the person establishing the trust and must also comply with state laws. Money deposited in a special needs trust can only be spent on basic life expenses for the special needs person. The principal benefit of a special needs trust is that the money paid into the trust is not taxed by state or federal taxing authorities. Also, the money paid into a special needs trust does not affect a person's eligibility for Medicaid or other government benefits.

A special needs trust should be drafted by an attorney with experience in special needs planning. The Pollan Law Firm has been serving clients throughout Georgia for more than twenty years. Its attorneys are experienced in tailoring special needs trusts to the specific needs of every client.

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