We have a child who is autistic. She doesn’t understand the concept of money…


We have a child who is autistic. She doesn’t understand the concept of money. How do we allocate funds in our Will so that she isn’t disadvantaged.

Simon and Mary have 3 children, Emily, Paul and Michael, with an estate valued at approximately £800,000.  Their daughter Emily is autistic and has no concept of money.  For Simon and Mary to leave money to Emily in her own name could potential be disastrous for the following reasons:

  • Having no concept of money Emily may spend large amounts of money on inappropriate items such as sweets and video games.
  • Emily may be open to manipulation from peers who would ask her to buy things for them. Emily is a generous girl and likely to give her friends whatever they asked for.
  • Emily currently has a care package that she may lose if all of this money is left to her directly.


Most families feel that it is important to share their estate equally between their children. After speaking to Simon and Mary they decided that this would not be a good idea because Emily would never have the need for such a large amount of money as she would not be able to buy her own property and it is unlikely that she would have any children.  Simon and Mary decided to allocate £200,000 to Emily and £300,000 to each of their other two children.

A standard Will would leave the money to each of their children directly into their own names. Our solution is for Simon and Mary to have a discretionary trust within their Will. After the death of both Simon and Mary, the trustees of the trust would be Paul, Michael and a professional trustee.

Paul and Michael would receive money from the trust as they wanted.  Emily’s money would be invested to provide an income for her so that she couldn’t spend all of the money at once.  If Emily needed money above the monthly allowance, for example for a holiday, Paul and Michael (as trustees) could release the funds for her.

The problems that would have arisen with a simple Will are resolved as follows:

  • Emily now receives an appropriate amount of money to spend monthly on the things she loves
  • Large amounts of money are not available to her unless approved by her brothers so she is not at risk of being manipulated by others
  • Emily does not receive funds higher than allowed for her to maintain her care package