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  • Writer's picturePeter Bricks

Establishing a Special Needs Trust

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

A Jonesboro, GA Estate Planning Attorney Discusses Establishing A Special Needs Trust

As an Atlanta area estate planning attorney, it’s important to familiarize my clients with the various instruments that we use to accomplish their goals. Occasionally an individual will come to our Atlanta or Jonesboro office with concerns of a child with Autism, Downs Syndrome, a physical disability, or some other special need. Almost any parent or guardian who has a child or adult relative with special needs asks themselves the same question: what will happen if no one is around to care for him or her? The goal of any estate planning attorney is to provide his or her client with peace of mind, and in this type of situation, we often accomplish that with a special needs trust.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is a financial instrument that is funded by a principal or benefactor to be used by a third party to provide for the care of a child or adult with special needs. A third party—the fiduciary or trustee—dispenses the funds in accordance with the beneficiary’s needs following a set of rules that are established by the trust maker and his or her estate planning lawyer. The fiduciary can be the guardian of the beneficiary or some other person. The fund is particularly useful for adults who aren’t able to take responsibility for their own finances due to a developmental disability or mental illness. A special needs trust can be set up to pay for housing, living expenses, clothing, medical care, therapy, or anything else that the benefactor wishes to allow.

Who Should Establish a Special Needs Trust

The following people should discuss special needs trusts with their estate planning attorneys:

  1. Parents of children with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses

  2. Parents or guardians of adults with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses who provide care for those individuals

  3. Parents, guardians, or other family members who care for a disabled or incapacitate child or adult

  4. Anyone who foresees having to care for a developmentally disabled, mentally ill, physically disabled, or incapacitated child or adult at any time in the future

Contact a Qualified GA Estate Planning Attorney

To discuss more specific issues related to special needs trusts, like Georgia estate planning law and federal income tax considerations, contact a reputable, GA estate planning attorney at your earliest convenience.

With offices conveniently located in Atlanta, Cumming, Dunwoody, Jonesboro, and Woodstock.

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