A trust is a formal legal arrangement. You can choose between 2 and 4 people as trustees to manage the money you have left your child according to your wishes.
Some families leave money to a relative on the understanding that they will look after the disabled person. But if the relative dies, gets divorced or has large debts, they may lose control of the money.
You can avoid this by including a trust in your will. Depending on the side of your estate (your money, land or property), there may also be tax implications. You can discuss the options with your solicitor.
Choosing your trustees
When you see your solicitor, think about trustees who will run the trust as you wish.
Trustees can be:
friends and family, but ask them if they are prepared to do this before you see a solicitor
professionals, such as solicitors or accountants, but they will charge for their services
Trustees must communicate regularly and agree all decisions. The trustees look after your assets (your house, shares, cash or items such as jewellery).
Employing a solicitor
Costs vary depending on where you are in the country and your solicitor. When you contact your solicitor, discuss potential costs. It's important to have peace of mind and to understand what you are committing to pay.
The Law Society has a list of all solicitors in England and Wales and the areas they specialise in.
Which type of trust?
This depends on your circumstances and those of your child or loved one. Your solicitor will explain the types of trust to you in more detail and guide you to the right choice for you.
Disabled person’s trust
If your child qualifies for a disabled person’s trust, they can be the principal beneficiary.
For a discretionary trust, you need to have a group of beneficiaries. You could include other family members, such as nieces or nephews, or charities.
What happens after the death of the disabled beneficiary
You can ask your trustees to split any money left over equally or in any other way between the other beneficiaries that are still alive. Or you can give any balance to charity. It's up to you. You must provide for this in your will by making individuals or charities your discretionary beneficiaries. You will provide a separate letter to your trustees setting out your wishes.
If you feel you would like to leave a gift to Scope, we would be very grateful.