Vulnerable Person Trusts

Call 0345 872 6666

Vulnerable Person Trusts

A vulnerable (or disabled) persons trust is a structure for holding assets to be used for the benefit of a particular vulnerable or disabled person during their lifetime without affecting (among other things) their right to receive means-tested state benefits.

If you are responsible for a dependent who has a disability or may be considered vulnerable, we can help you put in place measures to help your dependents manage their financial needs in the event that something happens to you.

Award-winning team

Our team is recognised in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. We have won industry awards, including Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards.

Diverse clients

We have assisted with a range of complex requirements for a variety of charities and high-net-worth clients, including families, business owners, entrepreneurs, sports professionals, and entertainers. 


Our team is made up of young, dynamic solicitors who understand the environments you operate in and the need for bespoke succession planning.

To speak to a solicitor about trusts for the disabled and vulnerable, get in touch with us by calling 0345 872 6666, or by filling in our online enquiry form and requesting a call back.

How JMW Can Help

We would be delighted to advise you on creating a vulnerable persons trust and have a wealth of experience in such matters. We will assess your personal circumstances and those of your dependents to build a trust to suit their needs, giving you both confidence and peace of mind.

Vulnerable persons trust can help you to support your vulnerable dependents (and their families) with a variety of costs associated with their living, including:

  • Daily living costs
  • Care fees
  • Accommodation fees

Vulnerable persons trusts are taxed differently to other trusts, and have particular benefits for Inheritance Tax (IHT) for you on creation and for Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax for the vulnerable beneficiary. The structure sometimes also allows others (such as family or carers of the vulnerable beneficiary) to benefit from the trust without affecting the trust’s unique position.

Our expert solicitors create trusts with the minimum amount of hassle, giving you the confidence that your wishes will be fulfilled and your vulnerable dependent will be taken care of. We will tailor our service to suit you and guide you through the trust creation process. Our team is used to working with those both experienced and completely new to trusts, so you can be assured that our team will be able to answer nearly any questions you may have.

Why Choose JMW?

We can provide the advice you need to help you make the right decision when setting up a vulnerable persons trust. We are well-recognised within the industry, including winning Team of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards, and are recognised as experts in our field in the North West in Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. Our experienced team, which consists of several lawyers who are members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), is ready to tailor our service to your circumstances.

Our team is experienced in advising the creation and benefits of vulnerable persons trusts for clients in all circumstances. What’s more, we can also assist with a range of complex estate planning requirements that you may wish to consider. We have experience working with clients of all backgrounds, including families, charities, business owners, entrepreneurs, sports professionals, entertainers, charities and other high-net-worth clients. You can read more about our charity work here.

The team is made up of solicitors who will work closely with you to understand your circumstances and provide bespoke advice to help you create and administer your vulnerable persons trust, as well as assist you where it is appropriate to consider wider estate and succession planning opportunities with you.

We will work closely with you throughout the process, guiding you through the necessary documentation, and advise on different structures of vulnerable persons trusts, your intentions for the funds, and help prepare strategies to support your vulnerable dependent.

FAQs About Vulnerable Person Trusts

Who is considered a ‘vulnerable person’?

To qualify as a ‘vulnerable person’, the person must satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • They are unable to administer their property or manage their affairs because of mental disorder as determined by the Mental Health Act 1983
  • They are receiving one of a wide variety of statutory benefits (many of which are connected with disability)

Existing trust structures may be able to ‘elect’ to have a vulnerable person element if a beneficiary meets the relevant criteria in a tax year.

A trust can be set up either during your lifetime or by will, and we can help with either.

What control do the trustees have over the trust fund?

This will depend on the underlying structure of the trust. The most common structure of a vulnerable persons trust is a discretionary trust; this means that the trust funds are managed by appointed trustees who make decisions on who can become a beneficiary. This type of trust is useful if you are currently unsure how you wish your estate to be distributed, or if you believe there may be unseen factors that could affect the trust in the future.

The trustees also determine when and how the beneficiary will receive any distribution from the trust. The vulnerable person would typically be named as the primary consideration for benefitting from the discretionary trust structure, but others may benefit (although the trustees must be careful not to over-distribute to persons who are not the vulnerable person, or risk jeopardising the tax benefits offered by a vulnerable persons trust).

However, it is possible to create a vulnerable persons trust with an underlying structure of a interest in possession; this would name the vulnerable person as having a right to immediate enjoyment of the trust assets and to any income generated, but the capital may be held for other named persons or at the trustees’ discretion. Again, the trustees must be careful not to over-distribute capital to persons who are not the vulnerable person.

Talk to Us

To speak to a solicitor about setting up a trust for a vulnerable person, contact JMW today by calling 0345 872 6666. Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form to request a callback.