Providing For Your Disabled Child in Your Will

Providing For Your Disabled Child in Your Will
Legally reviewed by: Siobhan Cribbin In: Wills & Probate

Securing the well-being of your child in the event of your absence is a common worry among parents. Yet, when your child has a disability, this concern can escalate. It is vital to ensure that a child with disabilities will be provided for in the long term however, this can be a difficult process to carry out without professional expertise of a wills and probate solicitor.

A wills and probate solicitor can ensure that your child with disabilities is cared for in the long term after you’re gone by providing advice that is tailored to you and your family.

Can I Leave Money in My Will for My Disabled Child?

Leaving money in your will for your disabled child is not always a straightforward process. One reason for this is that your child might be in receipt of state benefits. Therefore, leaving money in your will for your child may affect their benefits, resulting in their income dropping. This means that the money might be counted as your child’s income until their funds and depleted instead of them being able to spend their inheritance as they choose.  

Depending on the disability of your child, they might not be able to manage the financial responsibility of a sum left in your will. If you left a significant amount of funds to your child, they might not know how or where to invest the money. It’s possible you are also concerned that people could take advantage of your child’s funds if you are not there for them.

If you have more than one child, it can be difficult dividing your will in a way that feels fair. Instead of splitting the funds equally, your disabled child might require additional funds to support their care. A solicitor can help you unequally divide your assets in a fair and considerate manner, staying mindful of future costs your children might occur. Solicitors can additionally advise you on any potential claims that may arise as a result of the division of your funds.

Setting Up A Trust Arrangement

In most cases, a solicitor will recommend a trust arrangement as the best option for leaving money to your child with disabilities. There are many different types of trusts available. A solicitor can guide you through the different types of trust, helping you choose the best option for your family. Some trusts can help to preserve access to state benefits and others aid in ensuring your children benefit equally while putting emphasis on your disabled child to provide for their lifelong care.

In addition, leaving money in a trust for your child allows you to appoint a trustee. This person will manage the funds on your child’s behalf. Therefore, you can choose someone you trust to help your child decide how best to spend the money, ensuring it is in line with the needs and care requirements of your child.  

Making Financial Provision for Your Child with Disabilities

When it comes to writing your will, every family’s circumstances and priorities are different therefore it’s important to get guidance from an expert wills and probate solicitor.

If you and your solicitor decide the best option for your family is setting up a trust you will need to decide which type of trust best suits your circumstances. A commonly used trust for making financial provisions for your disabled child is a discretionary trust. Alternatively, you can choose a disabled person’s trust. Each trust has a unique purpose and specific implications. A solicitor can help ensure you pick the best trust to ensure your child is looked after.

When setting up a trust, choosing a trustee can be a daunting process. Your chosen trustee will inevitably take over your role, ensuring that your child is provided for. Therefore, it’s important to choose a person who you trust but who also will make smart financial decisions, understanding the needs of your child.

What is not recommended is leaving your disabled child out of your will in fear that by receiving money their state benefits might be affected. Even if you believe that other family members will care and provide for your child, not setting up a financial provision for your child runs the risk of them not being cared for in the event you pass away. If the family agrees to take care of your child, circumstances may change in the future meaning they cannot be responsible for your child anymore.

What Can Happen If I Don’t Provide for My Child with Disabilities in My Will?

If you left your estate to your brother, agreeing that he would care and provide for your disabled child something like divorce, death, bankruptcy or becoming mentally incapable would mean the inheritance would no longer be used for the child.

What to Consider for Your Disabled Child When Writing a Will?

When writing your will, it’s important to carefully consider who will look after your child. If your child is under 18, you will need to appoint a guardian who will look after them.

If your disabled child is over 18 you cannot appoint a guardian even if they are unable to care for themselves. To make sure your child is still getting vital care, you can leave detailed guidance in your will regarding who you want to unofficially care for your child and the specific care required for their needs.  A wills and probate solicitor can help you by ensuring you draft your will in a way that accurately represents your wishes for the care of your child.

What If I Can No Longer Look After My Disabled Child?

In addition to considering what might happen to your disabled child in the event of your death, it’s important to consider other factors that will mean you cannot look after your child. In the event that you no longer have the capacity to look after your disabled child, a lasting power of attorney can help.

By creating a lasting power of attorney, you can designate someone to make decisions on your behalf. If you have a child with a disability, it is important to consider their future in case your ability to make decisions changes. A thoughtfully prepared lasting power of attorney can ensure ongoing financial support and other arrangements for your child.

Providing Expert Legal Advice for Your Family

Navigating the process of providing for a child with disabilities requires careful attention, to ensure the will is meeting the child’s needs.

At Cartwright King, our wills and probate solicitors can ensure you have chosen the best option for your family if something happens where you cannot care for your disabled child.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.