Grandparents often have a special bond with their grandchildren. There is something magical about the love shared between a doting grandparent and their grandchild. As a grandparent, you may feel fiercely protective of your darling grandchildren. These protective instincts may be even stronger if you have a special needs grandchild.

Instead of hoping for the best, you may want to take action to help provide for the future of your sweet grandchild. While you may have already created an estate plan or last will, you may need to reconsider the format you use if you hope to leave something behind for a special needs grandchild.

The creation of a special needs trust as part of your comprehensive estate plan is often the best way to protect the assets you would like to leave for family members with special needs.

A trust ensures no one else squanders those resources

If you have a family member with special needs, they may not have the capacity to handle their own financial decisions. Your children or in-laws may be the ones that wind up managing the assets you leave behind for your grandchildren.

Unfortunately, even people you love and trust could make questionable decisions when faced with the reality of managing a large amount of money. People can make unscrupulous and selfish decisions that reduce or even use up the inheritance you set aside for your grandchild.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to legally protect the assets from any use other than one that benefits your grandchild. A trust does exactly that. The trustee will have to approve any dispersal of funds, significantly reducing the risk of a family member abusing or squandering those assets.

A trust offers other financial protections as well

In addition to the risk of guardians or caregivers abusing an inheritance, direct receipts of financial assets from deceased family members can also impact the stability of a special needs family member. Specifically, it could result in their loss of state benefits, ranging from housing support to Medicaid insurance coverage.

For those unable to manage their own finances, a large inheritance can often prove more problematic than beneficial. A trust with carefully planned or staggered payouts is one way to protect your special needs loved one from the risks associated with a sudden inheritance. A trust can help ensure that there are assets your family member can access for the rest of their life. It can also reduce the tax liability of your overall estate.

Setting up a special needs trust could provide you with peace of mind and take substantial burden off of your children as they plan for the future of your special needs grandchild. Sitting down with an experienced Georgia estate attorney can help you take the right steps to protect the vulnerable grandchildren you love.