Can I access my personal injury trust bank account?

This is the question most often asked.

The short answer is, you must not have personal access the trust bank account. Do not worry, I will explain.

The means-tested benefit rules ignore compensation for injury if it is held in a trust. Your benefits are worked out 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. 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 accouonts 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 Barclays, Cater Allen, and Metro. The first two now provide dual authorised online banking. Metro has a telephone banking system 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 a bank transfer. Most businesses will provide bank account details and accept a bank transfer.

Spending money from a personal injury trust bank account

I find people do get used to working with a cheque book. If you have a cheque book only account with the banks listed above, you should bring it up to date and asked 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 may feel odd at the outset. You will quickly get used to it and see a trust to protect your personal injury compensation as a positive thing.

How to set up and operate a trust bank account

Author: Mark Thompson

Personal injury and accident specialist solicitor

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