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Special needs trust: Frequently asked questions

If you have a child with special needs, you may have some concerns about what will happen to them upon your death. While it's not easy to think about, the right plan will give the both of you peace of mind.

A special needs trust is one of the best strategies to consider, as this allows you to leave assets behind to your child without harming their ability to receive government benefits.

Here are some of the most common questions associated with creating a special needs trust:

  • Who manages the trust? When creating a trust, you'll also name a trustee. This is the person responsible for managing the property within the trust. Since this is such a big responsibility, carefully consider whom you choose. Not only should they be financially responsible, but they must also be trustworthy and reliable.
  • What are the primary benefits of a special needs trust? Many people with disabilities qualify for government programs, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, subsidized housing and vocational rehabilitation. However, if you leave them too many assets outside of a special needs trust, it could disqualify them from future benefits.
  • How does the child access the assets in the special needs trust? If the trustee directly gives your child money from the trust, it could disqualify them from receiving government benefits. To protect against this, the trustee can use the assets to make purchases on behalf of your child. For example, they can pay for medical expenses, housing and even recreational activities.
  • When does it make sense to create a special needs trust? Even if you are young and healthy, you never know what the future will bring. If you have a child with special needs, it's best to create a trust as soon as possible.

Setting up a special needs trust may be one of the biggest decisions you ever make. If you're ready to learn more, make note of the assets you want to move into the trust.

From there, learn more about the legalities of creating a special needs trust. This isn't something you should do on your own, as the assistance of a legal professional will help prevent errors that could cause challenges in the future.

Visit our website for additional information on special needs trusts and related topics in Georgia.

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