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How do I provide for a vulnerable beneficiary in my Will?

How do I provide for a vulnerable beneficiary in my Will?

Making a Will is not just about setting out who will benefit from your estate when you die but also how they will benefit.

This is particularly important when you want to ensure you are leaving a vulnerable or disabled child or relative in a financially secure position after you have gone.

Leaving them money or assets directly may not be a good idea for several reasons:

  • They may not be able to manage the money themselves which could lead to it being spent irresponsibly or them being taken advantage of by others.
  • It could affect any means tested benefits they receive.
  • Leaving it to someone else to manage on their behalf may seem like a good solution but sadly, can be risky as you cannot ensure it is spent how you intended on the person you intended.

How do trusts work?

Trusts law is notoriously complicated but in short, trusts provide an arrangement where assets including property, land, money and shares are held and administered by one or more people (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).

For example, if you leave a friend some money to support your vulnerable relative after you die, you can’t be certain they will use it for the purpose you intended. In fact, they could spend it on anything they wanted.

To make everything clear, you can protect this arrangement by drawing up a Trust deed setting out that the trustee (your friend) is responsible for administering the assets under trust in the best interests of the beneficiary (your vulnerable relative) named in the trust document.

How can the use of trusts ensure safe provision for a vulnerable relative?

The use of trusts within Wills can play an important role in making sure the money you leave is not only used for the benefit of the vulnerable relative but is also protected.

Trusts can be set up in your lifetime or you can leave instructions to create a trust in your Will. There is no need to draw up a separate trust deed if the trust has been created by wording in your Will as the Will itself is the trust deed.

What sort of trusts can be used to look after a vulnerable relative?

There are a number of different types of trust but taking specialist advice is important as this is a complex area of the law and you want to make sure that any trust is set up and managed properly.

Discretionary trust

This is a very flexible type of trust often used to protect children who are vulnerable or not good with money.

It is set up in such a way that the trustees control the assets within the trust and can apply those assets for the benefit of the beneficiary.

This means that the vulnerable person can have funds made available to them if necessary but they aren’t in control of those funds themselves.

In addition, the assets within the trust do not count towards any means tested benefits which means they remain unaffected.

Vulnerable Persons Trust

This is specifically designed to protect a vulnerable beneficiary, most usually, someone who has a disability.

It is a way of ringfencing assets so that means tested benefits are not affected but various criteria apply so specialist legal advice is needed.

These trusts benefit from some tax concessions that are not available for discretionary trusts.

There are two types of Vulnerable Person’s Trust:

  • Created by a parent’s Will for children up to the age of 25.
  • Created by a Wil or during lifetime for disabled beneficiaries.

During the vulnerable beneficiary’s lifetime, the trust fund can usually only be used for their benefit although other beneficiaries may receive assets after their death.

Get in touch

Wards Solicitors is recommended as a South West leading firm in the independent Legal 500 list for 2024 having received overwhelmingly positive testimonials from clients.

Our specialist Trust Solicitors can provide all the help you need to make a valid and legally binding Will, set up a trust within that Will protecting your vulnerable beneficiary and help you draft an appropriate letter of wishes so that everything you want is clearly communicated.

Contact Mary Harty or Klerwi Le Fol-Caraës for more information on 0117 929 2811.



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