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Special needs planning should have a tailored trust

Many families in Georgia have a person who needs to be cared for because of illness or disability. While good care might be provided while there are parents and guardians to make sure of it, a common concern is what might happen to the person if he or she is left alone without someone to make those decisions and oversee the care.

This is true for an ill, disabled or elderly person. For these situations, it is imperative to understand the value of a special needs trust.

A vital part of special needs planning, this trust will have certain contingencies for a beneficiary and will be tailored to avoid a negative impact on their Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other government benefits. While government programs like these and others are for support, there will be limits as to what they can give the person. If money was left to the person in lieu of a special needs trust, it could put them beyond the income limits to get governmental assistance. A special needs trust avoids that.

The trust will own the funds. There will be a trustee who handles its distribution and the beneficiary has no control over it. It is wise to understand certain basics including the requirement that it be created before the person reaches age 65 and the funds cannot be used for shelter or food. There are other factors that must be considered such as when the beneficiary owns the funds but could use a special needs trust. This is when a first-party special needs trust can be used. A third-party special needs trust will have funds that the beneficiary has no claim to. These can be complex and to understand how they work and when they should be used, legal help is useful.

To protect a loved one who requires special needs planning, it is imperative to understand how disability programs and Medicaid can be affected if there is not adequate preparation. Contacting a law firm that understands special needs trusts is a foundational aspect of special needs planning and should be done immediately to make certain the loved one is protected.

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