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Should a special needs trust be part of your estate plan?

One of your primary goals when planning for the future may be to ensure the interests of your loved ones are secure. Through your will and other estate planning documents, you can outline what you want to happen to your property and possessions after you pass. Like others, you may want to leave money and assets to children, grandchildren and other loved ones.  

There are specific ways Georgia adults can accomplish this, including through a trust. In fact, a trust is often the most practical way to leave wealth for a particular individual as it can protect the beneficiary from certain taxes and the probate process. If the recipient has special needs, you can create a special needs trust. This will allow you to care for your family member securely if he or she is unable to manage money directly and properly. 

What does it do? 

As the name suggests, special needs trusts allow you to set aside and protect money and assets for an individual with special needs. This money can provide for essential needs long after you pass, such as food, clothing, daily assistance and more. The specific things you can accomplish with this type of estate planning tool include: 

  • The money left in a special needs trust will not affect a mentally or physically challenged individual’s eligibility for government benefits. 
  • You can safely provide additional assistance that may be necessary over and beyond any government assistance received. 
  • You will have peace of mind knowing that a loved one has what he or she needs for his or her well-being for years to come. 

When you establish a special needs trust, you will name a specific individual to act as the trustee. This person will oversee the distribution of the funds in the trust, ensuring their use is appropriate and according to your intentions when you established a trust. 

What else do you need? 

 To accomplish specific goals in your estate plan, such as leaving money for someone with special needs, you will find it helpful to first carefully evaluate your goals, wealth and future objectives. This evaluation will allow you to see what estate planning tools may be the most effective in helping you control what happens to your wealth and care for your loved one well into the future. 

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