With a secret trust, it will depend upon the terms of that trust. If entirely discretionary, then it should be treated the same as any other discretionary trust of which Mr A is an object of the discretion. If it is a bare trust for Mr A, then Mr A’s entitlement should be treated the same as any other entitlement under a bare trust.
When in receipt of benefits, whether from DWP or a local authority, I believe that one of the terms of payment is that the recipient must inform the benefit provider of any relevant change in circumstances, which will include becoming entitled to an inheritance, or becoming a beneficiary or object of a trust.
It will be for the claimant to inform the DWP or local authority. However, if, say, a solicitor is managing Mr A’s entitlement and knows that Mr A has not disclosed his entitlement (or has no intention of doing so) does that solicitor have any obligation to notify the appropriate authority that Mr A continues to receive a benefit to which he is not entitled? It would be interesting to understand the professional’s position if (s)he turns a blind eye and perhaps other contributors to the Forum might be willing to share their own thoughts on this aspect.
Paul Saunders FCIB TEP
Independent Trust Consultant
Providing support and advice to fellow professionals