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Received inheritance but am dsabled and vulnerable.

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GregoryH
GregoryH Posts: 41 Forumite
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edited 19 April 2016 at 4:16PM in Benefits & tax credits
I am about to receive an inheritance from my aunt (she died over a year ago).

I am on ESA (support component but previously WRAG component). I understand that the maximum I can have money-wise is 16k, but have been informed by her solicitors and the executor of her will that she left me a little over 60k. They have discussed with the solicitor about having the money put in trust with my Mum but I am not sure if that is legally binding or allowable with the DWP. I have an autistic spectrum disorder and am with no uncertainty vulnerable (with learning difficulties) and classed as such. I am/would not be responsible enough to handle such a large sum (if I had unrestricted access to it) due to the impact the autistic spectrum disorder has/had on my life. I am not sure what to do next but will be speaking to the solicitors soon. Please help me (especially about the legality of my mother holding the money in trust without an alteration of the will) or whether I should (if possible) have her solicitors as trustee of my share of her will. I would also like to know if I have to inform the ESA as to a change in my circumstances if the money is put in trust with my Mum.

Please help me.
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  • antrobus
    antrobus Posts: 17,386 Forumite
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    GregoryH wrote: »
    I am about to receive an inheritance from my aunt (she died over a year ago).

    I am on ESA (support component but previously WRAG component). I understand that the maximum I can have money-wise is 16k, but have been informed by her solicitors and the executor of her will that she left me a little over 60k. They have discussed with the solicitor about having the money put in trust with my Mum but I am not sure if that is legally binding or allowable with the DWP. I have an autistic spectrum disorder and am with no uncertainty vulnerable (with learning difficulties) and classed as such. I am/would not be responsible enough to handle such a large sum (if I had unrestricted access to it) due to the impact the autistic spectrum disorder has/had on my life. I am not sure what to do next but will be speaking to the solicitors soon. Please help me (especially about the legality of my mother holding the money in trust without an alteration of the will) or whether I should (if possible) have her solicitors as trustee of my share of her will. I would also like to know if I have to inform the ESA as to a change in my circumstances if the money is put in trust with my Mum.

    Please help me.

    OK. You want to put the money into a Disabled Person’s Trust.

    That's perferctly legal. Although you will probably need to get it rubber stamped by a court. It seems that there is no definitive answer as to whether or not the DWP will treat this as deprivation of capital.

    In such circumstances we do recommend that the proper trust is set up, although no one can guarantee the local authority or DWP’s stance, in relation as to whether the arrangement amounts to a Deprivation of Capital. We can only say that we have seen no record of a successful challenge by the authorities.

    https://anthonygold.co.uk/latest/blog/legacies-in-a-will-for-disabled-persons-disabled-persons-trust-deprivation-of-capital
  • GregoryH
    GregoryH Posts: 41 Forumite
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    edited 19 April 2016 at 4:41PM
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    Thank you very much. I appreciate your knowledge, advice and time.

    The letter they sent my Mum was not clear to me as it is not in plain/easy to understand wording. I hope that when I chat to the solicitors they can make it easy for me to understand and can give me more advice.
  • tiger_eyes
    tiger_eyes Posts: 1,006 Forumite
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    GregoryH wrote: »
    I am on ESA (support component but previously WRAG component). I understand that the maximum I can have money-wise is 16k, but have been informed by her solicitors and the executor of her will that she left me a little over 60k.

    Just to clarify, there is no maximum amount of money you're allowed to have. The police won't come to lock you up if you have too much. :) It's simply that if you have a lot of money, you'll be expected to live off that for a time rather receiving benefits. So you can spend the £60,000 on living costs until your savings dwindle to the point where the DWP resume paying you again.

    No judgement here, but I admit, I don't entirely see the purpose of creating this trust. Is it really better to lock away your inheritance? You'd need to be 100% confident that (a) ESA will continue to exist long term, (b) you'll continue to qualify regardless of any potential changes in your condition, (c) benefits will be paid on time forever, and (d) the payments will always be sufficient to meet your needs. Or you could just receive the inheritance and have the security of your own money for a time?
  • NeilCr
    NeilCr Posts: 4,430 Forumite
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    Some more information here

    https://www.gov.uk/trusts-taxes/trusts-for-vulnerable-people

    Reading this it appears that you need to be eligible for PIP or AA so being on ESA may not be enough

    Being honest with you Gregory I think you should seek professional help - talking to the solicitor is probably a good start. People on here are very helpful but we don't know the full story and this seems to me to be something that needs a face to face discussion with an appropriate person

    Good luck with it
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 33,055 Forumite
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    When you say you would not be responsible enough to handle such a large sum, is that your opinion or someone else's? What are your concerns about this?
    Because if someone else is worried you might spend it on things they don't agree with as long as you can understand and weigh up all the pros and cons then that's your decision to make.
    If you're wanting it put away to avoid it affecting your benefits that's a different issue.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • GregoryH
    GregoryH Posts: 41 Forumite
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    edited 19 April 2016 at 7:16PM
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    tiger_eyes wrote: »
    Just to clarify, there is no maximum amount of money you're allowed to have. The police won't come to lock you up if you have too much. :) It's simply that if you have a lot of money, you'll be expected to live off that for a time rather receiving benefits. So you can spend the £60,000 on living costs until your savings dwindle to the point where the DWP resume paying you again.

    No judgement here, but I admit, I don't entirely see the purpose of creating this trust. Is it really better to lock away your inheritance? You'd need to be 100% confident that (a) ESA will continue to exist long term, (b) you'll continue to qualify regardless of any potential changes in your condition, (c) benefits will be paid on time forever, and (d) the payments will always be sufficient to meet your needs. Or you could just receive the inheritance and have the security of your own money for a time?

    This concerns me deeply (although not to your detriment of course).

    I have been disabled all my life. It is very difficult and stressful for me to be around people on a long term basis. My attention span is also poor. As far as I know the DWP understand this (hence me being in the support group) as it severely limits my capacity for work as I would require frequent supervision but cannot be around people on a long term basis. As such it would be difficult to find employment and I would be classed as almost unemployable. I have not been required to work for close to 25 years although no one can know what the future holds for me whether the DWP is involved or not.

    Although it is not my immediate intention to try to deprive the DWP of capital, it is also not my fault I am disabled on benefit and was left such a large sum in a will. I do however have to take the DWP's stance of deprivation of capital very seriously. There is no question of me not declaring the inheritance to the DWP if required. If they decide that I am not vulnerable or decide to go against any court order placing the money in a disabled persons trust I will fight it. At the end of the day my 'vulnerable' status should take precedence over the DWP's stance on what classifies as deprivation of capital. If my Mum cannot be declared as appointee/trustee of a disability trust for me (or being able to have the solicitors as trustee) then so be it.
  • Ames
    Ames Posts: 18,459 Forumite
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    It's my understanding that the trust has to be stipulated in the will, and can't just be done once the inheritance is due.

    I completely understand your fears. I have bipolar and have problems controlling finances and got an inheritance of about 45k last year. I was terrified of getting it.

    The first thing was that not having to be on ESA, not worrying about reassessments, not having the threat of the work programme hanging over me has been absolutely fantastic.

    I really never expected it to feel this good to be off benefits.

    The way I'm managing it is to have it in a savings account which has to have six weeks notice to make a withdrawal. I withdraw the same amount I'd be getting in benefits, and I do it every three months. There's other similar options, you could find a way of doing it and withdrawing a month at a time.

    I also have a couple of thousand in an easy access account in case of problems. Like, last time I was a week late getting to the bank because I wasn't well, but I could cover that from this account.

    I get that it's scary, suddenly having this huge amount of money and losing the safety net of someone else being in charge of when you get it, and how much. Maybe your mum could help you keep on top of the withdrawals?

    The final thing to note is that if there's anything you need - equipment, maybe or new furniture, then it means you can buy it. I moved house not long after getting my inheritance and most of my old third hand furniture didn't make it, it was great being able to replace it without having to worry.
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
  • allison445
    allison445 Posts: 752 Forumite
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    They won't take the inheritance away but they may take away any benefits which have a £16000 threshold.
  • GregoryH
    GregoryH Posts: 41 Forumite
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    edited 19 April 2016 at 5:58PM
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    As far as being vulnerable is concerned, I have a history of being physically abused by other people. I have also been sexually abused as a child and as a teenager. I cannot judge peoples attitudes by facial expressions and body language. When people have been aggressive/violent/sexually abusive towards me, I have taken it because my brain does not tell me to run or fight or even acknowledge it in a way that removes me from being abused. One exampled of this is me having a gun pointed at me by a youth and two other people when I was homeless and me walking towards them not understanding or being able to react to the fact that my life was in danger. I am therefore highly susceptible to exploitation where physical abuse would be concerned. My neighbor being one example. He has assaulted me, damaged my property and stolen from me.

    If I am not vulnerable, then I am little more than a walking punchbag.

    Having a partly autistic brain has it's advantages and disadvantages but I have a lot of friends and people who care for me and I am not bitter about being born this way.
  • GregoryH
    GregoryH Posts: 41 Forumite
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    edited 19 April 2016 at 6:15PM
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    Celifein wrote: »
    Is there a middle ground? Could the money be put into an online savings account, then your mum could use online banking to transfer an allowance to your current account each fortnight/month? That way you'd be receiving money in the same installments (just from your savings instead of ESA).

    Or are you trying to put the money aside for something other than living costs?

    Thanks. I intend to explore all legal options. The way it stands right now, she will put the money in a separate account for me. She has called it a 'trustee account' but as I mentioned earlier I will be in contact with the solicitors soon and will hopefully find out exactly what that means/what effect it will have on my situation.

    When my Mother dies, both her property and the remains of her estate will remain in trust with her solicitor. She will be gone before I am eligible for a retirement pension. This was done so I could live in her property and it not be classed as capital. I was hoping the same could be done with my Aunts money but from what I understand (from reading online and the replies here) it is more difficult after she died.
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