If you leave money to a relative or friend with a learning disability, or die without making a will, it could have unintended consequences.
- If your relative or friend cannot manage their own money, the Court of Protection may need to become involved to assist in looking after the legacy. This can be complex and time consuming, and there are fees involved.
- The person with a learning disability may have impaired understanding of the value of money and may be vulnerable to other people taking advantage of their new found wealth.
- If the person concerned is receiving state benefits, the receipt of a legacy is likely to affect the amount to which they are entitled. Most benefits are subject to the person holding less than a statutory maximum of capital.
You may think of leaving your estate to your other children to use to help your child with a learning disability, but that may not be an appropriate solution, as there is no legal obligation on them to use it in that way, and the money might be treated as their money if they were to divorce, or go bankrupt, or die, or if they needed to claim benefits themselves.
The solution is to set up a Discretionary Trust within your will. You will appoint trustees who will support the person concerned to manage money and to make decisions as to how it should be used. The trust fund can be used to provide luxuries and additions to the person’s day to day needs, as well as having the flexibility to benefit other members of the family if needed.
A Will like this should be made by a solicitor who has experience of these types of wills. A Will is vitally important, particularly in these circumstances, and you should consider all the options with your solicitor who will write a will to suit you.
To discuss this and to obtain more information contact:
Emily Payne at Dickins Hopgood Chidley Solicitors,
The Old School House, 42 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0NF 01488 683555