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Those with family members who suffer from a learning disability, or are otherwise felt to be vulnerable, can face a difficult choice when considering how to make provision for them, particularly when it comes to making a will.
Making no provision for them at all can leave the estate open to a claim for financial maintenance, whilst an outright gift can reduce their entitlement to means tested benefits and may leave them at risk of influence from people who may not have their best interests at heart.
So what can I do?
The best solution will often involve the use of a trust by which you appoint trustees to manage the money for the person with a learning disability. The money is under the control of the trustees, and if set up properly, will not be assessed for means tested benefits. There are a number of options as to how the trust can be structured and the best solution will depends on the circumstances of you and your family.
Trusts might also be the answer if you wish to pass assets on during your lifetime, perhaps as part of a tax planning exercise.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your options. We have a number of people who specialise in this area, and regularly talk to parents and carers of those with a learning disability at Mencap meetings.