If you are making a claim for compensation as a result of an accident/incident, you need to be aware that any award of damages may impact on your entitlement to means tested benefits (now or in the future). At present, if your household capital exceeds £16,000, you will not be entitled to means tested benefits, such as housing benefit or council tax support. Therefore, receiving compensation may mean that you are no longer entitled to benefits that you need.
It is, however, possible to place your compensation monies into a specially drafted Trust which preserves your entitlement to means tested benefits. The compensation monies will then belong to the Trust and need not be taken into account on any assessment of your entitlement to benefits (so long as the Trust is administered properly).
The Trustees are responsible for looking after the money and making payments out to you, the beneficiary, as and when required. You can be a trustee of your Trust, along with another person, and therefore will retain a large degree of control over your compensation.
It is extremely important to consider creating a Trust as soon as you can, even before your claim has settled.
If you would like further information on Personal Injury Trusts please contact Tollers' Trusts and Estates Team on 01604 258558.