Mr X had sold his property and settled the sale proceeds into a Family Investment Probate Trust in 2019. He moved into rented sheltered accommodation following the sale, and six months later in early 2020, he entered long term care following a fall.
A Financial Assessment was completed, and the local authority confirmed that they would take the funds in the Trust into account as a part of the financial assessment. They believed that Mr X was guilty of deliberate deprivation due to the circumstances surrounding the sale.
In correspondence with the Council following the completion of the financial assessment, the Trustees confirmed that the property had been sold as Mr X was unable to maintain the upkeep of it and wanted to downsize. His fall and entry into long term care was a completely unforeseen event. At various points during the correspondence the Trustees were asked to disclose the Trust deed and other information to the Local Authority. We refused to disclose the Trust deed on the basis that it is a private document and they were not entitled to sight of this.
A year on from the completion of the financial assessment, the council have finally confirmed that due to the arguments put forward by us in our capacity as Professional Trustees of the Investment Probate Trust, they will disregard the capital that was placed in the Family Investment Probate Trust by Mr X.
This case studies highlight the importance of lifetime planning utilising trusts and using the help and support of a professional trustee such as DB Consultancy and Countrywide, who have a wealth of experience in these matters. There can be many motivations to settle assets into trust – certainty, or perhaps to hand over control of the assets to the chosen trustees (which may or may not include the Settlor) so that they can be readily and more easily managed for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Settling assets into trust may also mean there is no delay in accessing the assets for the beneficiaries following the death of the Settlor, where a Grant of Probate may otherwise be required where assets are held absolutely. In cases where a Will could be challenged, did you know that a timely settlement of an asset into Trust during lifetime could prevent it from being subject to an Inheritance Act claim on death?
In this case, the assets were protected from the cost of long term care and the inheritance preserved for the families concerned.