What is a Personal Injury Trust?
A Personal Injury Trust is a trust fund which is set up with the compensation monies that you receive as a result of a personal injury claim, such as for example a road traffic accident, an accident at work or a medical negligence claim
Who do I appoint as Trustees?
You can create a Trust by asking other individuals or a company to hold assets on your behalf – these people will be known as your ‘Trustees’ You can choose whoever you wish to be the Trustee of your Personal Injury Trust however they must be over 18 years old. It is preferable that you appoint people you trust and this can conclude family, friend or legal representatives. After all, your Trustees will hold and have control over your compensation money, although they cannot use it for their own benefit.
What are the benefits of a Personal Injury Trust?
If you are in receipt of means-tested benefits and you receive an award of compensation, the capital value of any award you receive will be taken into account when calculating your entitlement to those benefits. However, if you set up a Personal Injury Trust with your compensation award, that capital is disregarded and will not affect your entitlement to means-tested benefits. Even if you do not currently receive means-tested benefits, setting up a Personal Injury Trust when you receive your award can prevent loss of any future benefits you may claim if your circumstances change. A Personal Injury Trust can also be used to protect your award from being taken into account for the cost of current or future long-term care. Placing your compensation award into a Trust will enable the capital to be disregarded when your contribution to care costs are considered.
When should I set a Personal Injury Trust up?
In order to avoid any loss of benefits, a Personal Injury Trust should be set up before you receive your award of compensation. However, a Personal Injury Trust can be set up at any time using your compensation award. There is a period of 52 weeks, from the date you receive your award, in which your compensation will be treated as disregarded capital but this period is subject to special rules and therefore it is not recommended that you rely on it.
What if my circumstances change and I no longer need a Personal Injury Trust?
You can at any time instruct your Trustees in writing, to transfer the money over to you. Once they have done this, the Personal Injury Trust will then cease to exist. It is important to remember that you may lose your entitlement to any means-tested benefits once the Personal Injury Trust ceases to exist.