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Your Will And Protecting Family Members With Learning Disabilities

View profile for Allison Kent
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Parents naturally want to protect and provide for their children and one of the key ways to do this is to make a Will.  For parents of young children or adult children with learning disabilities this is even more essential.  

Without a Will, money or property is likely to pass on to your children after your death when they reach the age of 18.  Most parents would agree that children are usually ill-suited to deal with money at this age and it is only through making a Will that as a parent you can have some control over this. 

Children with a learning disability may never be in a position to handle money for themselves.  Owning assets or having money in their own names can put them in a vulnerable position.  It may result in them losing access to government funding for care or housing and it may mean that they fall prey to unscrupulous ‘friends’ and other scams.  

There is a common misconception from parents that they should not leave any money or assets to children with learning disabilities as this would prevent them from accessing state funded care. However the state can  take action when a child has deliberately not been provided for. Parents should also think about what would happen if government policies change.  Some Parents may decide that they will leave their money and assets to one sibling who would then look after the other who has the disability. This is very risky when you consider what could happen on marriage, divorce or bankruptcy of the sibling without the disability. 

There are always lots of options to discuss, and making proper provision can avoid all of these concerns and give you control and peace of mind.

All too often people leave making a Will until it is too late.  Sometimes they put it off because they simply do not know what to do for the best.  Seeing a specialist solicitor is the first step to putting all your affairs in order. A solicitor with expertise in this area, will have experience in dealing with your specific circumstances and will know what sort of Will would be best to protect your family.  

Allison Kent is a Consultant Solicitor at JCP Solicitors.  Allison  specialises in Lifetime Planning,  is STEP qualified and also a Mencap panel solicitor with 16 years experience of helping parents provide for children and adults with a learning disability. 

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