Can I access my personal injury trust bank account?

This is the question most asked.

The short answer is, you must not personally 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 what you hold in the trust. If you put trust money in your own hands, that money and how you use it, could reduce or stop your benefits. Do not access the trust fund by paying money to yourself or withdrawing cash. Buy what you need direct from the trust bank account.

Using trust accounts has become easier, as you are no longer limited to using cheques with at least two signatures. The banks which can help you are Barclays, Cater Allen, and Metro. The first two now provide dual authorised online banking and Metro has a joint customer telephone banking system. 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 an old account with the banks listed above, you should bring it up to date.

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 account. We write trusts to allow the money to be held or invested in almost any way you can do personally. The important point is to be sure it is the trust whch trust which holds the funds, not you personally.

Guidance on opening and operating personal injury trust banks accounts is available here.

A trust to protect your personal injury compensation is a positive thing.

Author: Mark Thompson

Personal injury and accident specialist solicitor

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