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Special needs trust administration: Protect your loved one

Many disabled adults require a substantial amount of care. Georgia residents often do what they can to make them comfortable and provide them with the best life possible. Special needs trusts (or supplemental needs trusts) can be created to help in that endeavor. These trusts, and the corresponding trust administration, must be handled carefully in order to avoid losing access to government benefits and programs that many disabled adults rely on to live their lives.

Well-meaning loved ones and friends often make gifts or bequests directly to the disabled adult, which could jeopardize those benefits and programs. Instead, the trust should be the recipient since the assets contained therein are not considered part of the disabled adult’s assets or income. Wills and beneficiary designations can identify the trust as the receiver of any assets or funds. In addition, for those with permanent disabilities who are under the age of 65, any monetary settlements can be placed in a special needs trust.

If you are the trustee, you need to know what you can and cannot do on behalf of the disabled person. The assets of the trust cannot be used for certain expenses most of the time. For example, you may not pay medical bills, mortgage loans or rent with the assets of the trust. However, you can provide extraordinary conveniences such as computers, special equipment or travel, among other things.

If you are in charge of the trust administration for a disabled adult, you would benefit from sitting down with an attorney to understand your duties and the limitation of the special needs trust. Considering the fact that you are willing to take on this responsibility, you more than likely want to ensure that you do not do something that jeopardizes the care of the beneficiary. Having the appropriate guidance and assistance from a Georgia trust attorney could help you carry out your duties and answer any questions that may arise.