Setting Up and Funding the Trust
Parents, guardians, grandparents, a court, or the beneficiary establishes a Trust sub-account for a beneficiary who has a disability as determined for the purposes of SSI or Medicaid by completing a Joinder Agreement.
The Georgia Community Trust enables families from many different economic backgrounds to establish future security for their loved one. Some people fund the account with a large sum of money at one time such as from a will or life insurance dispersement, while others contribute a modest amount annually.
There is no minimum amount to fund a sub-account, but all contributions must be in cash. The most important factors to consider when funding an account are how much you can afford, the type of lifestyle to which your child is accustomed, and what his or her long-term needs may be.
Families can fund the trust a number of ways:
- Proceeds from an estate
- Life insurance death benefits
- 401ks or retirement accounts
- Annual contributions or gifts
- Litigation settlements
- Contributions from relatives and friends
- Other means
The most common methods of funding are through the estate, via a will or living trust, and with life insurance benefits.
The funds received by the Trust are pooled and invested, however, separate sub-accounts are maintained for the beneficiaries.
Investments may be made in money market accounts, bank obligations, U.S. Government obligations and fixed income investments. The income earned by the Trust is allocated to the beneficiaries’ accounts on a monthly basis.
Receiving Payments from the Georgia Community Trust
A co-trustee is appointed by the person completing the Joinder Agreement and the co-trustee represents the beneficiary by requesting funds for the needs of the beneficiary. The co-trustee is usually a family member.
The co-trustee can submit expenditure receipts for reimbursement or invoices to be paid directly to the vendor.
Expenditures may be made to improve the quality of life for the beneficiary; however, expenditures cannot be made for basic food or shelter
Examples of Expenditures:
- Caretaker Expenses.
- Rehabilitation Expenses.
- Medical and diagnostic treatment beyond Medicaid benefits
- Recreation, entertainment and travel for the beneficiary and a caretaker.
- Purchase of furniture for the beneficiary
- Purchase of an automobile for transportation to medical treatment.
- Renovations to a house to adapt to the needs of the beneficiary.
- Cost of adapting a car or van to the needs of the beneficiary.
Distribution of Funds Upon Death of the Beneficiary
When the beneficiary dies, funds remaining in the individual’s Trust account will be distributed to the person designated by the donor.
In cases where the funds transferred to the Trust were the funds of the beneficiary, at the death of the beneficiary the State must be reimbursed for medical assistance, and the remainder will be distributed to the person designated by the donor.