Special needs trusts have become a valuable and much-used estate planning tool for Georgia families with special needs children. Many families who want to establish a special needs trust for one or more of their children usually assume that retaining a knowledgeable attorney is the necessary and often the last step in the process. While this assumption may be correct in most situations, many persons who are considering establishing a special needs trust are unaware of the services provided by the state of Georgia to ensure both the legal efficacy of the trust and the effectiveness as an estate planning tool.
Many families in Georgia with special needs children may be eligible for a variety of federal and state funded programs, but many of these same families are unaware of these programs or do not know how to apply for benefits. An experienced special needs lawyer can provide valuable assistance in such cases.
Georgia families that include a person with special needs have a variety of government plans that provide several types and amounts of financial assistance. Some of these programs have financial limits on eligibility, which means that many people who would benefits from the plans are financially disqualified because their income or assets exceed the limits for the plan. Medicaid is one of the most notable examples of how such limits work to deprive otherwise eligible individuals of the benefits of such plans.
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.
As Georgia's elderly population looks to their futures, many experience a feeling of hopelessness because they are not aware of the many resources available for elder care planning.
Most Georgia parents understand the need for a competently prepared estate plan to pass their assets to their children. This need becomes even more critical for parents of children with special needs. Parents with special needs children should consider some of the following suggestions to ensure that their special needs child receives the proper care after they are gone.
Planning for the special needs of loved ones, such as disabled loved ones, is important for families who have disabled loved ones, or others with special needs, to care and plan for. It is beneficial for families faced with concerns for special needs loved ones to understand how legal tools can help them with their special needs planning and concerns.
The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides many benefits for children with special needs. IDEA is intended to ensure that all children with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education. When a special needs child is accepted into the program, that child is given an individualized educational program. Any proposed change in an IEP can be extremely disruptive, and IDEA provides a method for avoiding or minimizing the disruption.
Many parents of special needs children in Georgia wonder about what happens when their child turns 18. Will they lose control of the child's money? Who will make medical decisions for the child? Who will manage the child's life? Answering these questions can be some of the most difficult aspects of special needs planning. The answers to many of these and other questions will depend upon the nature and severity of the child's disability. In extreme situations where the child is not mentally competent or suffers from limited mobility or has assets that must be protected and managed, a guardianship may be the answer.
As people age, their ability to take care of themselves diminishes. Yet, people often want to remain in their own home as they age. While nothing about the aging process is certain or predictable, experts have prepared a number of steps that can increase a person's chances of remaining at home as they grow older.