Q&A What are the Trust options for protecting our vulnerable son’s future?

Q:      We have a sixteen-year-old son with autism. He is high functioning but has little concept of the ways of the world or how to handle money and this situation is unlikely to change. Whilst we are both healthy, we feel it would be a good idea to look now at the options for his future provision and protection. From what we have read it seems the way to go is to set up a Trust. What would be the best options?

A:       Every case is different, so you should make an appointment with a solicitor to discuss your and your son’s particular circumstances in detail before making any decisions.

For disabled and vulnerable people there are two main Trust options, if a trust is indeed appropriate – a Discretionary Trust or a Disabled Person’s Trust. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Such Trusts could take effect now using a lifetime trust, though the more usual option would take effect on your death by including it in your will. The solicitor will advise whether the trust would qualify as a Disabled Person’s Trust.       

A Discretionary Trust gives trustees the power to decide how much a beneficiary gets and when they get it. The beneficiary has no fixed entitlement to receive money from the Trust and any benefit they receive is entirely at the trustees’ discretion.

Whilst very similar, a Disabled Person’s Trust has some additional tax benefits in that if approved by HMRC the income and gains will be taxed as if they belong to the disabled person personally and therefore this can reduce the tax bill considerably.

In both cases trustees can use the capital or income for the benefit of the disabled person and have full discretion as to how they do so. Both types of Trust are currently taxed at the highest rate of income tax, but also have a Capital gains tax allowance equivalent to one half of the personal allowance.

This question has been answered by Tom Rimmington, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Tom Rimmington

Tom Rimmington

Senior Solicitor

Tom is a Senior Solicitor based in our Wrexham office.