However, we do a lot of work for people where a family member is in receipt of means-tested benefits and believe that we can add real value in making sure that a family's affairs are structured in a way which protects people when they are most vulnerable. Having said that, we think that a lot of people don't realise that we can help in this way, often until it is too late.
There are two areas in which we work most often. The first is with families who are trying to provide for a child or grandchild in the ownership of a home, helping them to live independently. The second is in the planning around Wills and inheritance, so that a vulnerable beneficiary doesn't receive assets from an estate, but can still benefit as their parent or grandparent would want.
In both situations, it is important to provide for the beneficiary, but in a way which doesn't jeopardise the benefits package which is set up. It can often take months to ensure that a benefits package is working smoothly, but if a person becomes entitled to funds, that package can disappear almost immediately.
We use Trusts and other structures to help families in these situations. Each family is different, and the needs of the beneficiary and balancing them with the needs of other family members, means that it can take a bit of time to get this right.
One of our teams in the private client team at Morton Fraser is called the "asset protection team" and too often people think all we are doing is trying to work out ways to avoid tax. That is of course one bit of the work we do, but protecting assets can also involve many more considerations.