goes a long way in protecting vulnerable or disabled

specialist trust in your will

“Including a beneficiaries.”

is drafted correctly, and that it is specifically tailored to your individual circumstances. This ensures that the disabled beneficiary is left in the best financial position possible.

Trusts for a Disabled Person A Discretionary Trust or Disabled Person’s Trust is a way to protect the inheritance from affecting any benefits the beneficiary may be receiving. Most people set the relevant trust up in their will, but it may be a good idea to set up a trust in your lifetime if you expect your disabled child to receive other significant gifts, for example from other family members. First of all, you may ask ‘what is a trust?’

Simply put, a trust is a way of holding assets. Including a specialist trust in your will goes a long way in protecting vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries by providing on-going financial assistance. Trust law can be extremely complicated, and setting a trust up in the wrong way can have negative tax consequences. This means it is more important than ever to use the expertise of a qualified professional to make sure the trust

As the beneficiary doesn’t ‘own’ the assets held in the trust, they aren’t included in any financial assessment for benefits, assuming the trust has been set up in the right way. This means the benefits are protected, and the beneficiary receives a true benefit from their inheritance, which can then be used to pay for things such as holidays or additional equipment that might improve their quality of life. The most crucial decision when setting up a trust is deciding who you are going to appoint as trustees. These are the people you appoint to look after the inheritance. There are different ways to manage how the trustees can distribute the trust fund, and the best way to do this will depend on your own personal circumstances.

Building a specialist trust allows you to have full knowledge that any benefits your beneficiary receives won’t be affected, and ensures that the disabled beneficiary’s monies and finances will be looked after in a sensible manner.

Power of Attorney A separate, but equally as important, legal document from a will or trust is a Power of Attorney. Drafting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) means you can appoint a trusted person(s) to act on your behalf and in your best interests if you no longer have the capacity to do so. If you have dependents who need your help, then this document means those who need your help continue to receive it in the event you can’t continue.

The thought of not being able to manage our own affairs - financial and welfare - isn’t a pleasant thought, but it is unfortunately something that can happen to any one of us. Appointing an attorney gives that person the legal power to control your finances, medical decisions and personal welfare. If you are the carer of a person with a disability, this legal document may be very useful to have.

It may also be advisable for the disabled person to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, assuming they are able to do so.

Court of Protection If you don’t make an LPA and lose the capacity to make your own decisions, an application has to be made to the Court of Protection by a family relative or close personal friend to gain legal control of your affairs. This process is much more time consuming and expensive than if someone had made an LPA whilst they were well enough to do so. It’s always more efficient and cost-effective to plan ahead for these possibilities rather than waiting till they occur.

One of the best ways to care and protect those who you look after is to plan for the future and put the correct procedures in place. It’s also best to do things properly from the start with a qualified professional, this way complications down the line are drastically minimised. - 33 -

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