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Planning for a Special Needs Child or Grandchild

Credits: Chatham Wealth Management
Credits: Chatham Wealth Management
Credits: Chatham Wealth Management

Before she reached her second birthday, Julia was a smart, bleach blonde, blue eyed, “gifted” little girl. She could sing her ABC’s at an unusually young age. Soon after turning two, Epilepsy ravaged her body and mind. Julia is my niece and is legally disabled.

If you want to leave money or property to a loved one with a disability, you must plan carefully. Often, people with disabilities qualify for government assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, vocational rehabilitation and subsidized housing. Many people make the mistake of leaving assets to their disabled loved ones through a will or as a named beneficiary from an IRA/life insurance policy. Acquiring assets such as lump sum of money can cause a disqualification of these types of government assistance programs.

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Special Needs Trusts are made specifically for the benefit of a disabled or a mentally ill beneficiary. These beneficiaries lack the mental capacity to manage their own finances. The trust is created with the special needs, lifestyle and future of the beneficiary in mind. More importantly, Special Needs Trusts are used to ensure that the beneficiaries don’t lose government benefits they are receiving.

If you have a family member or loved one with special needs, simply leaving them a portion of your property in your will may not be enough. A special needs trust can help ensure they are properly taken care of.

According to Joanne Marcus, executive director of Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT), a nonprofit organization established in 1990 who provides administration of Special Needs Trusts, there are five steps to setting up a Special Needs Trust:

1) Understand the Need for a Trust: “in order to qualify for US government benefits, an individual can have no more than $2,000 in cash assets.”

2) Pick the Type of Trust That’s Right for Your Child: “Special Needs Trusts are funded by a third party, usually a close family member like a parent or grandparent, and can be coordinated with the family’s estate plan”.

3) Get Professional Help: “Because the regulations are complex and constantly changing, it’s important to select and surround yourself with attorney’s, financial planners or nonprofit that specializes in these types of trusts”

4) Choose a Trustee: “The trustee manages and invests the funds for the trust and makes disbursements

5) Choose an Advocate: “Especially in the case of a Special Needs Trust, an advocate is designated by the grantor (individuals funding the trust) and is someone who understands the grantors wishes and the beneficiary’s needs.

On August 7th, Julia turns 26. Still, she continues to experience epileptic seizures after 24 years. However, she remains our always happy, maybe not bleach but blonde, blue eyed, “special” little girl.

Enjoy your summer!

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A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, June 25 – Sunday, July 1, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend


By Galina Natenzon

All three of the library’s summer reading programs open this week!  The theme of this year’s summer reading is Libraries Rock!  The children’s program kicks off with a magic show by Matt Cadabra on Monday.  Over ...

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, June 18 – Sunday, June 24, 2018

Please note that the library will be closed on Sundays now through Labor Day weekend


By Galina Natenzon

This week we are wrapping up our first session of ESL classes.  Stay tuned, we are planning a fall session to start in September.  New students are welcome to enroll!  This is the last week of calm and quiet at the library before our summer reading ...

Angie's Owners Want to Thank Their Chatham Customers

June 14, 2018

To the Editor:

We want to thank our customers and the entire community for their support and devotion to our business. Our last day of business will be July 31.

rWe will miss all the friends that we have developed over the past 26 years. Wishing everyone much success and happiness in the future.


Louiza and Jimmy Poulimenos

P.S. "Until we meet ...


AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Chatham Students Schroder, Hyland Summa Cum Laude Graduates of Clemson; Huettenmoser Graduates Cum Laude

June 23, 2018

CLEMSON, SC - Chatham residents graduated from Clemson University in spring 2018 commencement ceremonies.

They are: Deianira D. Huettenmoser of Chatham, who graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Veterinary Sciences; Jennifer A. Hyland of Chatham, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and Natalie M. Schroder of Chatham, who ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...