1. Try not to put off writing your will

A Will which includes a discretionary trust is a powerful way to make sure the person you love will be taken care of. Most families find thinking about their Will difficult, but know they need to do it. Once you have written your Will you’ll find that you are not nearly so worried.

2. Talk to other families about what they decided to do

Families who have made their plans understand that it is difficult and can be confusing. They know that what is right for one family is not necessarily right for yours.  Talking it through really helps.   

3. Make sure people know what you want to happen

Once you have chosen trustees (the people responsible for running the trust) it is important to tell other people about this. A Letter of Wishes is also important. It tells your trustees about the person you love. It also helps them understand how you would want the trust to be used. Your trustees must make their own decisions but they will read your letter carefully. A Letter of Wishes can be updated at any time and without costing money.

4. Anyone can put money into a trust you set up for someone you love

Grandparents, other relatives, and family friends may want to provide a gift. They need to know that a discretionary trust is a powerful way to do this. They can use the discretionary trust you have set up.

5. Take legal and tax advice

Trusts can be a key part of your tax planning, and may mean that less tax is charged to your estate. Other families will be able to tell you about good people you can talk to.  Mencap has lists of local Wills and Trusts solicitors that can help you.

6. Appoint a trustee who understands benefits criteria

Some trusts stop the person you love getting benefits.  This isn’t the case with Mencap Trust Company’s discretionary trust. Trustees will need to understand benefits so they can see when the trust is paying for something that should be paid from benefits.

7. Think about making a life settlement

Putting money in the trust during the parents’ lifetime can be a good way to see the difference it can make. Parents tell us that it is a great relief to know they have found the right people to help.

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