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Leaving your Estate to a beneficiary with a learning disability or a vulnerable beneficiary 

If you have a family member or a close friend that you want to provide for in your Will but you are concerned because they have a learning difficulty or perhaps they have suffered from an addiction in the past and you feel they may not be able to manage their finances, then a Discretionary Trust Will could be the answer.

It is especially important in these circumstances that you make a Will so that you have control over what happens to your money and possessions.  By making a Discretionary Trust Will you can make sure the people you care about will get the right support and protection after you die.

Rather than leaving the money directly to the beneficiary, it is left in a Trust and managed by the people you appoint as Trustees under your Will.  A Letter of Wishes is prepared at the same time and this sits with your Will setting out your wishes as to how you would like the monies to be managed.  

The Trustees then have the powers to make decisions on behalf of the Trust and control the capital and income held by the Trust such as paying school fees and uniforms, holidays, driving lessons, purchase of a car or even a new home.

The Discretionary Trust can also set monies aside for the future needs of grandchildren for when they reach adulthood, for example to assist with the purchase of their first home.  

This type of Trust has many advantages including where a Beneficiary who would otherwise be entitled to means-tested state benefits that they would lose if they inherited directly from your Estate and ultimately be worse off.  

Perhaps most importantly it can help to protect a vulnerable Beneficiary who has in the past suffered with an addiction, such as drugs or alcohol.  By leaving the money in a Trust rather than direct to the Beneficiary the Trustees can ensure their inheritance is used for the correct reasons. 

You can also split your Estate under your Will by placing a percentage into the Trust and the remainder can be left directly to those beneficiaries who do not need the additional support and protection of the Trust.

If you think this might be of benefit to you and your family and would like more information then please contact one of our Wills and Probate Team for further advice, you can contact us by clicking here.

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Liz Woodward | Wills & Probate Executive

Discretionary Trust