A guide to wills and trusts

By writing a will and setting up a trust, you can make sure that a family member or friend with a learning disability will get the financial support and protection they need after your death. Many parents have told Mencap that writing a will has given them extra peace of mind for the future, especially if their son or daughter is unable to look after their finances themselves.

When you are thinking about making a will, or updating an existing will, there are many things to consider, and it is always a good idea to seek professional advice at this time. You may also want to talk to other members of your family and keep them informed about your decisions.

This information has been written to give parents, family members and carers helpful information about writing a will and setting up a trust. Throughout this guide you will find links to further information, as well as stories from parents who have been through the process.

I have written my will, and arranged for a discretionary trust. I hope that in the future my son will be able to stay in the family home – ideally he would like to live here independently with a support package.

This information contains some legal terms – you can find a short explanation of their meaning in the ‘key words' section. Look for the ‘What next?' sign for things you can do.

This information is also available to download as a PDF.


Why make a will?

If you want to provide for the financial future of a family member or a friend with a learning disability, it is important that you make a will.

What do I need to consider before writing or updating my will?

Read the five important things to think about before writing or updating your will.

How to find a solicitor

When you are thinking about writing or updating your will, it is important that you talk to a solicitor who not only knows about wills and trusts but is also aware of the concerns that you need to address in relation to your family member or friend with a learning disability.

Frequently asked questions about wills

Read our frequently asked questions about making a will.

What is a trust?

A trust is a binding arrangement under which a person gives money or property 'upon trust' to another person or persons, who are known as 'trustees'.

Why should I set up a trust?

Setting up a trust means you can leave money for a family member or friend with a learning disability without them having to worry about the responsibility of looking after it in their lifetime.

What duties and responsibilities does a trustee have?

Read more about the duties and responsibilities of a trustee.

Who can I appoint as trustees?

You should take great care over your choice of trustees.

How many trustees can I appoint?

You can appoint between one and four trustees, but it is normally a good idea to appoint at least two.

How can I tell my trustees how to manage the trust?

If you decide to set up a trust, it is a good idea to leave the trustees a ‘letter of wishes,' signed by you, and saying what you would like to happen.

What can I put in a trust and how much?

You can put money, shares and/or property into a trust.

What type of trust should I set up?

Find out about the different types of trust that are available.

Mencap Trust Company Limited

Mencap Trust Company Limited is a company that manages special discretionary trusts set up for people with a learning disability.

Further help

Mencap's wills and trusts team offer information and advice on setting up wills and trusts.