Vulnerable Person Trust: "ceasing to be vulnerable"

andygr Community member Posts: 2 Listener
We have established a VP Trust on behalf of my 9-yo autistic grandson, recipient of DLA at the middle level. (This is not normally a DIY project but I am a retired trusts and estates lawyer from abroad and I followed the Kessler professional treatise). The concern I have is this: the Finance Act 2005 s.37 and all the Web sites offering services and advice on such trusts say "A vulnerable person election has effect from the effective date until one of the following events occurs— (a) the person in relation to whom the election is made ceases to be a vulnerable person ..."

It's my understanding that an autistic person never ceases to be autistic. I also understand that DLA (or Universal Credit or whatever may replace it) can or will be reconsidered at age 16. 

Nobody seems to know how an autistic person "ceases to be a vulnerable person". The principle of taxation of VPTs is quite simple (the trust is taxed at the beneficiary's marginal rates with no IHT inward, outward, or periodic charge), although completing the SA900 tax form is less than simple and is best done by creating a spreadsheet following TSEM3474. But we are going to have to think ahead if there is a chance that our child will someday cease to be an eligible VPT beneficiary. Perhaps the trust will have to be closed and its assets turned over to him at majority if he is capable of managing them, the main asset being a residential flat.

So here's the question: does any reader know how and when a beneficiary of statutory benefits or a trust "ceases to be a vulnerable person"? 


  • Cher_Alumni
    Cher_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,715 Championing
    @andygr Hello there and a warm welcome to our community. How are you today?

    Unfortunately this isn't an area I can profess to be knowledgeable in so my advice would be to speak with someone professionally trained in welfare or disability rights. You can find someone close to you via the Advice Local website or through the Law centres network

    Some of our members may be along to offer you some wisdom from their experience however in the meantime, I wish you luck with the VP trust and send all the best to your grandson  :)
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,287 Championing
    I can't answer you question but this is not correct.
    andygr said:

    It's my understanding that an autistic person never ceases to be autistic. I also understand that DLA (or Universal Credit or whatever may replace it) can or will be reconsidered at age 16. 

    UC doesn't replace DLA because they are two completely different benefits. Depending on where in the country he lives it would either be PIP or ADP (Scotland only)
  • yanni
    yanni Community member Posts: 92 Empowering
    edited November 2022


  • andygr
    andygr Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you for the elaboration. The point I was trying to make is that apparently at age 16 DLA or whatever equivalent benefit he is getting will be reconsidered. But given that autism is for life (although obviously many, perhaps 20-25%) of autistic infants become adults capable of living with or suppressing (not for me to provide any support for ABA, the "treatment" that has unfortunately gained legal traction and health insurance support in the USA from the industry that benefits from it). So my question is unanswered, and no answer is found on the Internet: When does one "cease[s] to be a vulnerable person" if that vulnerability isn't due solely to age or to curable or temporary disability? I fear that this is an ignorantly drafted legislative provision, now widely quoted by lawyers, whose significance is understood by no one. I did put a query into a trust lawyers' site also, no answer yet. If nobody has an answer here then it may not be a common experience. What I do know from my daughter's campaigning (she is taking an MA course in autism education) is that sadly the kind of benefits my grandson is getting are subject to a postcode lottery. Local authorities feel emboldened to say that "yes, the law requires us to provide a suitable education and perhaps a teaching assistant, but we are broke and can't help you." The answer is to sue, but who can afford to do that, or take the risk of costs if she loses? So that is the context is which I posed the question. Thanks to those who made a comment. 
  • L_Volunteer
    L_Volunteer Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 7,926 Championing
    Did you want to say something @yanni:)