Georgia parents whose children have special needs may want to consider establishing a special-needs trust for that child. For people who get their healthcare through Medicaid, having more than $1,500 means they will lose their eligibility. A special needs trust is a way to provide for children without triggering the $1,500 limit. It may also ensure that a child remains eligible for benefits such as SSI and that the funds are used only for the person’s care. Furthermore, creditors cannot seize assets in a special-needs trust.
A special-needs trust can be expensive to set up and administer. Furthermore, with some special-needs trusts, Medicaid must be paid back. The person with special needs may have little control over how the money is spent.
The trustee controls the trust, so it is important to choose the right one. A trustee can be a professional or a family member, or a trust can have two co-trustees. If there is more than one trustee, the trust document needs to address how disagreements will be resolved. The trustee should also be someone who understands the beneficiary and their needs and that those needs may change over time. A person also has the option to hire a service to audit and monitor the trustees.
As the special-needs trust demonstrates, trusts are not just for wealthy families. They can be important tools in estate planning, and there are many different ways to use a trust. They can be set up to only distribute assets at certain times such as when a person graduates from college or at the discretion of the trustee. A person who creates an estate plan with an attorney may want to discuss their specific goals or concerns because there may be trusts that can offer solutions.