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Special needs kids and estate planning

Georgia parents of children with special needs often have significant concerns about what will happen to their kids after they die. Due to this concern, many parents take special steps when planning their estates to ensure that their children are adequately provided for.

Not all people with disabilities are unable to provide for themselves. However, certain disabilities may make it difficult for an individual to maintain gainful employment and manage day-to-day living tasks. Adults with disabilities may be supported by financial contributions from family members, government benefits or a combination of both.

Wealthy parents of children who have cognitive disabilities may opt to provide for their children via trusts. The trust will be managed by someone who will be responsible for ensuring that the person with disabilities is appropriately cared for.

Estate planning can become more complex if a child or adult with disabilities receives government benefits. Typically, government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, are only awarded to individuals with disabilities who would otherwise have a very low income and minimal assets.

Inheriting money from a parent can disqualify an individual from benefit eligibility. If the money from the parent is not enough to provide for a lifetime of care, the individual who has inherited funds may have to begin the disability benefits application process from scratch after the money runs out.

Requalification is never desirable, particularly if the person with disabilities is also dependent on government health care benefits. In such cases, parents might set up a special needs trust that supplements benefits without impacting the recipient's eligibility for these funds.

Parents who are concerned about family members with disabilities may benefit from speaking to an experienced attorney. A lawyer may be able to review a client's circumstances and make recommendations regarding wills, trusts and other estate planning options.

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