Special Needs Trusts are utilized to help provide the extras in life, above and beyond the basics provided by government programs. The Arc Georgia Pooled Trust offers two types of trusts to help families provide the highest quality of life for a family member with a disability… now and for the future.
- First Party Trusts
Prior to 1993, a person receiving government assistance could not place his or her own money into a Special Needs Trust. This meant that if an individual received an inheritance, insurance settlement or back payment from Social Security, he or she could lose eligibility for government benefits until those funds were spent. Thanks in part to the work of the Arc of the United States; a law was passed that allowed such funds to be placed into a Special Needs Trust. First party trusts provide individuals with disabilities with a safe harbor for their funds without endangering their governmental benefits.
- Third Party Trusts
When parents, grandparents, or other family members create a third party trust, typically a will, life insurance, or other financial holdings are created or modified to fund the trust at the time of their death.
In both types of trusts, The Arc Georgia Pooled Trust allows funds to be pooled to maximize investments; however each trust beneficiary has his or her individual trust account.
The Arc Georgia Pooled Trust provides a variety of unique benefits:
- A benefit of a pooled trust is the flexibility in using it when the family is not sure a special needs trust is required. Each family is unique, sometimes a parent is unsure of whether a child will have state/federal benefits that need protection, or if the child will need financial management assistance in the future.
- Pooled trusts also help eliminate choice of trustee issues. This is of great benefit to families that do not have people who can serve as trustee. A trustee must not only comply with all fiduciary duties required of all trustees but also must be aware of changing public benefit program policies, have a working knowledge of community and governmental resources for persons with disabilities, and anticipate the impact of distributions on public benefit eligibility.
- Membership, initial start up, and on-going costs are lower than an individual special needs trust. Because assets are pooled together, the trust is able to reduce the cost of administration and management.
- Using a pooled trust may also offer a unique opportunity for the grantor and beneficiary to experience the pooled trust administration during the lifetime of the parent or other family member.
- Pooled trusts offer strategies that combine money markets, stocks, and income funds to fit investor timelines and risk tolerance.
For more information contact:
Teresa Whitton – FSG Bank, Trust Administrator
531 Broad Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Tel: 423-668-3072 x5972
Most people with I/DD can manage their own affairs with assistance and guidance from others, such as family and friends. If guardianship is necessary, it should be tailored to the person’s needs. Strict monitoring must be in place to protect the best interests and preferences of each person.
Alternatives to full Guardianship
Supported decision-making is a model for supporting people with disabilities, often cognitive disabilities, to make significant decisions and exercise their legal capacity. Specific decisions are addressed, weighed and concluded by the person with disability, while drawing on the support of:
- a network of people; or
- an individual.
Aging with Developmental Disabilities
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities DBHDD has partnered with the Department of Human Services, Division of Aging to ensure that residents receiving services (or applying for services) who are aging have the necessary information to identify needed resources for themselves and/or their family members. There are identified ADRC Resource Program Specialists (DD) who liaison with the Division of Aging to ensure that Regional Field Offices are aware of aging resources and networks.
The Arc’s Center for Future Planning
The Arc’s Center for Future Planning aims to support and encourage adults with I/DD and their families to plan for the future through reliable information and practical assistance to individuals with I/DD, their family members and friends, professionals who support them and other members of the community on areas such as person-centered planning, decision-making, trusts, housing options, and financial planning.
As a part of the Center for Future Planning, The Arc is launching the Professional Services Directory. The Directory will enable families to identify professionals who can help them create and implement their plans for the future, including attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents, that are knowledgeable about and committed to working with members of the disability community.