Creating and funding a special needs trust

As the Georgia parent of a special needs child, figuring out how to provide for that child once you pass on or become incapacitated is likely among your primary estate planning objectives. At the law firm of J. Kevin Sharpe, P.C., we recognize that estate planning for a special needs child requires some additional forethought and action, and we have helped many clients create estate plans that reflect their needs and those of their children.

According to, creating a special needs trust is a way to set aside funds your disabled child can use after your passing without interfering with his or her ability to continue to receive government benefits. Because Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income require that recipients undergo means testing to determine eligibility, leaving your disabled child funds in a traditional will can make him or her ineligible for benefits in the future.

While there is no set minimum in terms of how much you need to put into a special needs trust during its creation, some experts recommend that you should start with a sum close to $100,000. Just where does that money typically come from?

Parents of disabled or special needs children can use any number of different methods to fund their special needs trusts, but often, the funds inside come from similar sources. Life insurance policies that pay out when one or both parents pass away is one common method of funding a special needs trust. In other cases, parents use a combination of family assets, inheritances and similar sources to fund their child’s special needs trust. You can find more about estate planning for a special needs child on our webpage.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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