If a person with autism is in receipt of government funding or benefits, any financial provision made for them by parents, carers, relatives or friends (whether income or capital) could reduce, or even cause the total loss of state support. As a result, the fund intended to provide for the person with autism could risk becoming exhausted when it need not have been.
Some adults with autism may not be able to manage money themselves and therefore may not be able to manage money left to them by their parents.
Setting up a trust fund is a way to provide for your child's future and make sure they will always have a steady income, whilst not detracting from any government benefits they may be entitled to claim.
Using a trust
If you wish to make financial provision for a person with autism - as well as safeguard any other benefits they may claim - one of the most secure ways to do this is to create a trust fund to help manage their finances.
A major advantage of setting up a trust is that you can avoid the potential loss of state support for your dependant. There are a number of ways of doing this, based on the type of trust you select.
Types of trust
There are a number of different trusts which have different functions and fulfil different remits:
A life interest trust is one in which the person with autism is given the right to benefit from the income generated by the trust fund during their lifetime. After their lifetime, the capital of the fund passes to the ultimate beneficiaries, such as another person or a charity, who can be specified in the will.
A discretionary trust is one for which the trustees are given full powers to decide if and when the beneficiary should receive either capital or income from the trust fund. This means that the trust fund does not belong to the beneficiary, and they will not lose any state support they claim.
A private charitable trust can be useful in some instances, such as if a person with autism is likely to be cared for in a residential facility managed by a charity.
It is essential to speak to a solicitor experienced in trusts. You can talk about your particular circumstances; get legal advice on the most appropriate course of action; and make sure that any documentation properly reflects your circumstances and those of the person with autism.