When considering the arrangements for managing an individual’s finances and assets after their passing, it is vital to be aware of the existence of the Henson Trust. This type of trust helps ensures that people with disabilities or special needs can still have money to take care of them without losing their government benefits. It’s named after a court case in Canada and can help families take care of their loved ones in a smart way.


How the Henson Trust Started: A Big Court Case

The case revolved around Marguerite Henson and her daughter Audrey. Audrey faced challenges due to a disability, requiring additional assistance. Marguerite’s concern was ensuring that Audrey’s financial well-being was secure even after Marguerite’s passing. However, Marguerite didn’t want Audrey’s ability to receive government assistance to be compromised.

In its ruling, the court determined that the funds held in a special trust for Audrey shouldn’t be considered as her personal assets. This crucial decision allowed Audrey to maintain her eligibility for government support despite having funds saved. This ruling set a precedent that provided guidance for other families in similar situations, enabling them to also ensure the welfare of their loved ones without jeopardizing their access to government assistance.


What the Henson Trust Does and How It Helps

A Henson Trust presents a distinct method of setting aside funds for an individual who requires additional assistance due to a disability. Unlike conventional savings approaches, the beneficiary of the funds does not retain control over them. Instead, a designated trustee assumes the responsibility of determining the timing and way the funds are utilized to benefit the individual. This approach is intended to prevent the funds from being considered the individual’s personal assets, thus enabling them to maintain eligibility for government assistance.

Several advantageous aspects of a Henson Trust encompass:

  1. Keeping Government Benefits: The best thing about this trust is that it lets people get government help even if they have some money saved up. This way, they can have a better life without losing important benefits.
  1. Extra Support: The trust gives extra funds to the person who needs it. This can be used for things like medical bills, a place to live, education, and fun activities that make life better.
  1. Someone You Trust Takes Care: A trustee is chosen to look after the money in the trust. They make sure the money is used in the best way for the person who needs help.
  1. Different Ways to Save: Families can put money into the trust from things like insurance, investments, property, or other valuable things.


Things to Think About When Using a Henson Trust

Using a Henson Trust needs careful thinking and planning. Here are some important things to know:

  1. Choosing the Right Trustee: The trustee is a big part of the trust. They’re the ones who take care of the money and decide how to spend it. It’s important to choose someone who knows what the person with special needs really needs and can make good choices.
  1. Making Clear Plans: Establishing Clear Strategies: The documentation that forms the basis of the trust must exhibit utmost clarity. This ensures that all parties involved are well-informed about the intended course of action concerning the funds, thus eliminating any potential confusion.
  1. Regular Evaluation and Revisions: Given that circumstances can evolve, it’s prudent to periodically review the trust to ensure it remains suitable for the individual requiring assistance.
  1. Seeking Expert Advice: Engaging in discussions with a specialized attorney or financial advisor can be tremendously advantageous. Their expertise in matters related to these types of trusts can provide invaluable guidance to families, aiding them in making well-informed decisions.


The Henson Trust offers families a unique way to ensure that their family members with disabilities or distinct needs possess the financial resources necessary for a quality life. This trust plays a crucial role in maintaining government support while also offering supplementary funds for essential expenditures. It’s important for families to engage in meticulous planning, select an appropriate trustee, and seek guidance from experts to establish a future that is both secure and fulfilling for their special loved ones.