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Personal Injury Trusts

A Personal Injury Trust can be set up when you are claiming compensation as a result of a personal injury, to hold any payments you receive and to protect any means-tested benefits you may be eligible to.

Our specialist solicitors can advise you on setting up a Personal Injury Trust and why that might be of interest to you, as well as helping to manage the Trust as a Trustee.

Creating a Personal Injury Trust is necessary in some cases because any compensation you receive which is not held in a Trust will be added to any other capital you have (such as any savings, investments or additional money in accounts) and may affect your eligibility to means-tested benefits. If the total exceeds £6,000, then the amount of means-tested benefits you receive might be reduced or stopped altogether. However, if your compensation is in a Personal Injury Trust, this will protect the money from counting towards your total capital.

It is not enough to simply give your money to a family member to look after. This could be seen as deliberate deprivation of capital, and your compensation may still be counted towards your entitlement.


When should I set up a Personal Injury Trust?

A Personal Injury Trust should be arranged when you receive your first payment. However, you have up to one year to pay your compensation into the Trust, before it is counted towards your means-tested benefits entitlement.

You should speak to your solicitor about setting up a Trust in advance, so that any money you receive, whether it is interim payments before your case is settled or your final settlement amount, is protected for any current or future means-tested benefits entitlement.

Your compensation must be held in a specific trust bank or building society account and clearly separate from any personal finances. Our specialist solicitors can help you with this.

How do I access my Personal Injury Trust?

Trustees manage any compensation held in a Personal Injury Trust. There must be more than one Trustee who manages an account, and if you wish to access money from the Trust, all Trustees must agree to it.

Trustees are often your spouse or partner, parent or child, or a close friend. However, they may also be a solicitor if this is more appropriate for your circumstances. Having a solicitor as your Trustee can remove the stress and strain from your family and friends. A solicitor may also be able to make independent decisions more easily and be able to explain why any payments are or are not made and the reasons why.

Any Trustees should be chosen by you and should be someone you trust to make decisions in your best interests.

What can I use my Personal Injury Trust for?

There are specific things a Personal Injury Trust can be used to pay for without affecting your means-tested benefits.

These include:

  • Any care or support you need as a result of your injuries
  • The cost of a holiday
  • Purchase of a car and the cost of running it
  • Going to restaurants and eating out
  • Improvements or adaptations to a property
  • Any hobbies you enjoy or paying for the cost of a pet
  • Extra utilities, such as increased heating costs if this is required as part of your condition

The Trust should not be used for things such as:

  • Usual food shopping bills
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Ongoing utility bills
  • For rent, if you receive housing benefit (unless it is a top-up amount for more expensive rent)
  • To pay council tax if you receive council tax benefit

Personal Injury Trusts FAQ

How is a Personal Injury Trust taxed? plus symbol minus symbol

With a Bare Trust, income and capital gains are treated as the Beneficiary's for tax purposes. There is no requirement to separately register the Personal Injury Trust with HMRC. An annual tax return might need to be filed however, if the Beneficiary’s usual personal allowances have been utilised.

There are no immediate or periodic tax charges, which apply to other types of Trust.

What can go into a Personal Injury Trust? plus symbol minus symbol

Only money in respect of a personal injury can go into a Personal Injury Trust. However, the Trustees generally have wide powers of investment meaning they can purchase property and invest in any type of asset, anywhere in the world.

 ISAs and certain National Savings & Investments products are prohibited because they cannot be held in the name of the Trustees.

How much can I have from my Personal Injury Trust? plus symbol minus symbol

The law generally allows a person to have up to £6,000 in savings at any one time, before their means-tested benefits are affected. Therefore, if a person has £4,000 in savings, they can receive another £1,999 to ensure they remain below the limit. When the £6,000 is exhausted it can be replaced by another £6,000 and so on.

Different capital limits apply to Local Authority funding, but the principle remains the same.

Can I spend money from my Personal Injury Trust on what I want? plus symbol minus symbol

Yes. There is no restriction on how the money is spent, providing it is for the benefit of the Beneficiary.

Benefits income ought to continue to be used to meet ordinary day to day expenditure such as shopping, utilities, etc.

Is there a limit on how often I can receive money from my Personal Injury Trust? plus symbol minus symbol

No. There is no limit on the number of withdrawals that can be made, but you should avoid setting-up regular payments of the same amount. Anything in excess of the capital limits for means-tested benefits and local authority funding should be paid for directly from the Trust Fund.

Can I change my Trustee? plus symbol minus symbol

Yes. A Beneficiary usually has the right to remove or appoint new Trustees, as well as the power to bring the Personal Injury Trust to an end at any time.

What happens when I die? plus symbol minus symbol

The Trust Fund forms part of a Beneficiary's estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Why do I need a Personal Injury Trust? plus symbol minus symbol

A Personal Injury Trust is a way for people who receive money in respect of a personal injury to preserve their entitlement to claim means-tested benefits and local authority funding both now and in the future. This is because the assets in the Trust (“the Trust Fund”) are exempt from the capital limits for means-tested benefits and local authority funding.

What is a Personal Injury Trust? plus symbol minus symbol

A Personal Injury Trust is a legal document (normally a “Bare Trust”), which transfers control of the money in respect of a personal injury from the person receiving it (“the Settlor”) to two or more people or a Trust Corporation (“the Trustees”) with instructions that they hold the Trust Fund for the person’s benefit (as “Beneficiary”).

When should I set-up a Personal Injury Trust? plus symbol minus symbol

A person has 52 weeks to set-up a Personal Injury Trust from the date of receipt of the first payment they receive in respect of a personal injury. During this time, the money is disregarded. If, after 52 weeks however, their savings remain above the capital limits for means-testing and local authority funding, their entitlement will be affected and possibly stop altogether.

If a person deliberately disposes of money in order to maintain their entitlement to means-tested benefits or local authority funding, they may be in breach of the rules relating to deliberate deprivation of capital.

Who can be a Trustee? plus symbol minus symbol

The Trustees will often be close family members and/or friends. They can also be professionals such as solicitors or accountants, but they will normally charge for their services. Trustees have a duty to act in the best interests of the Beneficiary and ensure that the Trust Fund is used for their benefit.

The Trustees will need to open a separate bank account to administer the Trust Fund. They will be signatories to this account and it is recommended they maintain a record of all transactions.

Can I be a Trustee? plus symbol minus symbol

Yes, but there must always be a minimum of two Trustees or a Trust Corporation.

How can I set up a Personal Injury Trust?

Our specialist solicitors can help you and provide all the information you need about setting up a Personal Injury Trust. They can make all the necessary arrangements to set up the Trust for you, as well as acting as a professional Trustee if this is the best option for you and your family.

Contact the team today to discuss how we can help you and your family to achieve your best outcomes and lead fulfilled lives.

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