Living with a disabled child in the family is a challenge and parents find themselves facing difficult decisions all of the time. We receive enquiries from concerned parents on the subject of disability and inheritance and from experience, find that key areas, especially around how inheritance can affect disability benefits, crop up time and again.

It is however a sad fact that many parents are reluctant to answer the three most important, and arguably most difficult questions that they will ever face. So, let’s pose them here:

The stark truth is that a disabled child is far more likely to be taken into local authority care if their parent dies than an able-bodied child in a similar situation. Yet this is easy to resolve. Most parents of disabled children know exactly who the right person to look after their child is. Making sure the right person gets appointed is as easy as making a correctly worded Will.

Any inheritance received by a disabled person has the potential to disrupt a care plan. A grandparent trying to do the right thing, or a parent without the right plans in place can cause real distress and disruption, as inheritance does have the potential to affect disability benefits. Even a large inheritance can be swallowed up quickly when the disabled beneficiary becomes liable for all of their care costs. Worse still, when the money runs out there is no guarantee that the local authority will be able to fund the original care plan in full. The answer lies in a structure that allows the disabled person to benefit from the inheritance without effecting their care package.

Parental responsibility ends, for both disabled and non-disabled children, when a child turns 18. Which can leave parents of disabled children reliant on social services when seeking decisions about their child. Most parents we speak to are keen to avoid this situation. Having control of the decisions that are made about your child as they enter adulthood is key to a smooth transition. The methods by which a parent achieves control are specific to an individual’s circumstances. Our key advice is to start early – start thinking about things when your child turns 17.

Will and Probate Services are specialists in disability and inheritance planning, we can help you answer your three questions and put a plan in place that is right for you and your child. Call us today on 01778 382723 to book your free initial consultation.

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