Can I access my personal injury trust bank account?

This is the question most often asked by those setting up a personal injury trust.

The answer is, you must NOT have personal access the trust fund. Do not worry, I will explain.

The whole point of a personal injury trust is to keep the compensation separate from your personal funds. The means-tested benefit rules ignore compensation for injury, if the compensation is held in a trust. Your benefits are based on your personal funds, not on the compensation held in the trust. If you put trust money in your own hands or personal bank account, that money will be treated as yours and could reduce or stop your benefits. Even if you spend that money, you could be treated as still having it.

Do not access the trust fund by paying money to yourself or withdrawing cash. Your trustees should buy what you need direct from the trust bank account.

Trust bank accounts should operate on at least two trustee signatures. Using trust accounts has recently become much easier, as trustees are no longer limited to using cheques. The banks which can help you are Cater Allen and Metro Bank. Cater Allen provides dual authorised online banking. Metro has a telephone banking and a new phone App for joint bank accounts. Even with an account that requires two signatures or approvals, you can now easily make a bank transfer. This is a great advance on two signature cheques.

You do not need to access the trust fund. You have a modern method of payment available to you in the form of internet banking, so you can make a bank transfer. Most businesses will provide bank account details and accept a bank transfer.

Spending money from a personal injury trust bank account

Until a few years ago, these accounts were usually operated with only a cheque book. I found people got used to working with cheques, but cheques have obvious limitations. If you have a cheque book only account, you should bring it up to date and ask for dual authorised online banking.

Keep personal funds separate from the trust fund. How you then spend the trust fund is your business, not the business of a benefits agency.

You do not have to hold all trust money in a single current bank account. We write trusts which allow the money to be held or invested in almost any way you can do personally. The important point is to be sure the trust holds the funds, not you personally.

Operating a personal injury trust will feel odd at the outset. You will quickly get used to it and see a trust which protects your personal injury compensation as a positive thing.

Related content

Personal Injury trusts and how I can help
Personal injury trusts guide

Protect your compensation

Receiving interim or final compensation payment?

You may need a trust to protect benefits and local authority care.

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