When dealing with these situations, it is seldom thought appropriate to leave gifts to such beneficiaries directly or, as commonly thought, to other family members on their behalf. Receipt of an inheritance will also affect means tested benefits and services available to your intended beneficiary.
The best way of making provision in such circumstances will often be by making use of a Trust. These can be created both during lifetime and in a Will. If suitably prepared, they can protect an inheritance from predators and creditors as well as the loss of means tested benefits and services. It is vital to ensure that you get specific advice about your own particular circumstances when considering the use of Trusts.
Franklins can assist in discussing your options with you. There are different types of trusts with varying tax consequences and differing levels of flexibility that will need to be considered carefully in conjunction with your needs to assess what the appropriate structure would be for you.
Helen Taylor is on the Recommended and Specialist Solicitors lists for Scope, Mencap and the National Autistic Society.