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plclegal
plclegal, Barrister
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7256
Experience:  Barrister at law
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I am a single parent with a 6-year old disabled child. He is

Customer Question

I am a single parent with a 6-year old disabled child. He is not my biological child – I became his legal guardian through a special guardianship order when he was a baby. This means he is not classed as adopted or fostered but I have been granted parental responsibility to the exclusion of all others with parental responsibility.I will be organising a Will very shortly and intend to make my son the sole beneficiary of my will.I have very little in the way of financial possessions, but do have life insurance in place.My question is around how to set the trust up effectively when considering my son’s disabilities (he is autistic, has a chromosome deficiency and is non-verbal].I have 4 brothers - 3 of them are not a part of my life due to ongoing family issues (1 is my son’s biological grandfather) - and 1 who I am very close to.Whilst he is unable to take on the responsibility of raising my son should something happen to me; I would like him to be responsible for his financial wellbeing via the proceeds of my life insurance.My concern is that, if I simply make him a trustee of the policy, and my son’s biological grandfather forcibly obtain custody of him upon my death, he would then use the proceeds for his own gain, without my brother being able to stop this (as his role as trustee would be to provide my son’s new guardian with financial aid).I therefore thought it my be more prudent to make my brother the beneficiary of my insurance policy, knowing that he would have full control of the money upon my death and that he would ensure my son would benefit from this completely.Would this be a reasonable way of setting up the trust or could this still be challenged by my other siblings?
Submitted: 26 days ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 25 days ago.
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  plclegal replied 25 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** for your patience.

I’ll do my best to assist you today and I’m sorry that you are going through this. I appreciate that is is important that you find a resolution as soon as possible.

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Expert:  plclegal replied 25 days ago.

Have you considered appointing a professional trustee (solicitor) to run the trust alongside your brother? With two trustees and one being a professional, the capacity of the potential future carer of your son to manipulate the funds is minimalised.

This ensures that your son remains the beneficiary, and the professional trustee could take over the running of the fund should something happen to your brother in the future. The trouble with having your brother as the beneficiary in my view is that it is also possibly open to manipulation from other people connected to your brother financially, for example a spouse.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If you have specific questions arising from my response, let me know and I’ll happily clarify for you.

In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Please be aware that my answer is based strictly upon the information you have given me and is provided by way of general advice.

If you still need any points clarifying, I will be happy to reply because the thread remains open for you.

I am always happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the thread.

Thank you for your trust in our service.

Best wishes,

Peter

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Whilst I appreciate what the role of a professional trustee can offer, cost would be an issue and so I have chosen not to go down this route.I am extremely confident that my brother will look after my son in a financial capacity in the event of my death (along with his wife of 22 years, who is also a blood relative of my son) as they are both already extremely supportive when it comes to my situation and are already financial comfortable in their own right.My question is; if I note my brother as sole beneficiary on both my Will and my life insurance policy, on the mutual agreement (noted in an ‘Expression of Wishes’ letter) that he would financial support my son with the proceeds, is it possible for my other siblings to contest this decision in court if one of them (i.e. my brother who is my son’s biological grandfather) won guardianship of my son.
Expert:  plclegal replied 25 days ago.

As you are free to leave your estate to whomsoever you wish in your will, in principle there is not an issue with your proposal.

Your brother is then free to administer these funds as he sees fit.

There is however a possible route that would challenge this - under the 1975 inheritance Act and the notion of 'reasonable provision' for a dependent (child or spouse).

My view is still that your son should be the beneficiary, with the trustee as your brother, with or without a professional in place too. If the trust is carefully drafted it should prevent abuse of the funds by a future possible carer.

Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer, please do let me know if you have any additional questions in the future. I am also happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Thank you. Could you be more specific regarding carefully drafting the trust document please. What would it need to say?
Expert:  plclegal replied 25 days ago.

Well for example, the requirement to provide receipts for use of funds, to provide an annual or bi-annual report to the trustee, to hold annual meetings to review the use of trust funds - these sort of checks and balances can assist in managing the fund.

Expert:  plclegal replied 24 days ago.

I hope that your query has been resolved.

Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer, please do let me know if you have any additional questions in the future. I am also happy to answer any new questions on other topics that you may have, you can request me by putting “for PLCLEGAL” at the start of the new thread. Best wishes, Peter