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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10944
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My brother is severely disabled, he lives independantly

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my brother is severely disabled, he lives independantly in an adapted flat and recieves state support to enable him to do so. he enjoys his independence and is happy with his life. however he is about to recieve a share in his parents house. he really wants to disclaim this as he does not want to become responsible for the money or have his benefits and life disrupted. can he do this?
1. I regret to say that all of the principal Social Welfare benefits, including Housing Benefit, Disability Allowance have rules relating to "deprivation of capital" which mean that even if your brother disclaims his inheritance under the will, he will be taken to have received the capital sum so that his benefits will be cut off. As the commentary to reg 51 of the Housing Benefit rules suggests that there could be deprivation where a person has never physically possessed the capital then renunciation might be ineffective, particularly where the right to receive something is also deemed to be a capital asset. If so, it is always then down to intention. If the only reason for the renunciation was a strong moral or religious one then the claimant might not be caught by the act. Otherwise, he might.
2. Accordingly, I regret to say that disclaimer of the inheritance might not be the best method of dealing with this situation. Most methods of Capital Deprivation are caught by the regulations including the setting up of a discretionary trust and a Deed of Variation. So, I would suggest your brother speak with his local welfare rights & benefits assessor to see if a solution is possible. Otherwise he might have the worst of both worlds and renounce the inheritance and also get assessed so he loses his benefits.
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