Specialist advice is essential in order to ensure that your wishes are adhered to when drawing up a will or establishing a Trust for your son or daughter. Organisations such as The Friendly Trust or Mencap may be able help guide you through the maze and highlight some of the common pitfalls. They can advise on how to leave money or property in a discretionary trust which will beneﬁt your relative who has learning disabilities without jeopardising their means tested welfare beneﬁts.
The Friendly Trust is locally based and will be happy to check through an existing will and
discuss with you whether it best meets the needs of your relatives. They can work with you
and your solicitor to ensure that the necessary changes are made to provide maximum benefit for your disabled relative.
The Friendly Trust and Mencap can send you written information about discretionary trusts
but every family and individual situation is different and so it is important to talk things
through with an advisor.
Both Mencap and The Friendly Trust are able to act as trustees for your relative in relation
to a discretionary trust. The Friendly Trust is willing to do this as joint trustees with other
members of the family or as the only trustees. If a professional trustee such as The Friendly Trust, MENCAP a solicitor or a bank is appointed charges will almost certainly be made although there may be no charges levied until the trust comes into being.
Mencap provides a specialist service through the Mencap Trust Company Ltd. which manages funds for people with a learning disability. Each fund is administered on an individual basis. The money does not belong to the Trust Company; it is simply administered by it on behalf of the beneﬁciary. Mencap are not able to act as joint trustees with other members of the family.
In making your Will and setting up a trust for your son or daughter you should ask how much the solicitor drafting your Will is going to charge and also check any charges professional trustees such as the The Friendly Trust or Mencap will make for administering the trust.
It is sometimes possible to have a Will drafted free of charge through the Will Aid scheme
which usually runs every November.
Details can be found on the web at: www.willaid.org.uk.
It is important to check that the solicitors participating in making free Wills have the
knowledge and skills appropriate to you and your family’s situation. The Friendly Trust can
help you to do this.
For further advice please contact The FriendlyTrust or Mencap - see below
Other Legal Advice
If you need legal advice about matters such as assessments and complaints please contact the Parents Federation or the Friendly Trust (see below) for a list of solicitors.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau also has a section dealing with assessments and other issues.