What To Do When A Beneficiary Of The Trust Dies

When a beneficiary of the Thalidomide Trust dies there may be additional questions and information required.

Our guide below will take you through what is needed.

Do I need to tell the Trust?

Yes, if a beneficiary of the Trust passes away, please give us a call on 01480 474074 and let us know. We will need to know the following information:

  • The date of death
  • Your name, address and contact details, as the person reporting the death, and your relationship to the beneficiary
  • The name of the executor of the beneficiary's estate (if known)

What other information does the Trust need?

To formalise arrangements after a beneficiary’s death, the Trust will require the following:

  • A copy of the death certificate
  • Grant of probate (this confirms who is the executor of the deceased’s estate)
  • Confirmation of funeral details (the Trust will send a representative to attend the deceased beneficiary's funeral and, if they have asked us to do so, we will circulate details to all other beneficiaries)

What support does the Trust offer after a beneficiary’s death?

A member of the Trust’s staff team will talk to the beneficiary’s partner or other family member to see what support they require at this difficult time.

We will offer practical and emotional support and, if their immediate family do not have access to sufficient funds to cover the cost of the funeral, then the Trust will offer financial assistance.

If there is a balance on the beneficiary’s grant funds held by the Trust, then we would release the funds required for a funeral before the paperwork associated with their estate has been finalised.  In the event of financial hardship, if there is no balance on the beneficiary’s grant funds,  the Trust would provide a maximum amount of £3,500 to cover the cost of a simple funeral.

What happens if the deceased beneficiary had some grant funds remaining that were being held at the Trust?

Beneficiaries of the Trust are allocated two grants each year: an ‘Annual Grant’ and a ‘Health Grant’. If the deceased beneficiary had a remaining balance held at the Trust on either of these grants, the funds would be treated in the following ways:

  • Annual Grant: any remaining balance held at the Trust would form part of the deceased beneficiary’s estate, and would be released upon receipt of a death certificate and a grant of probate certificate which confirms the executor of the beneficiary’s Will (if they had one).
  • Health Grant: any remaining balance held at the Trust would not form part of the beneficiary’s estate. This is because the Health Grant is a ‘restricted fund’ which was allocated for the named beneficiary to help meet their specific health and wellbeing needs whilst they are alive. Please note: if the beneficiary had requested a payment of their full annual Health Grant allocation before their death, then any funds held directly by the beneficiary at the time of death would then form part of the beneficiary’s estate.

Memorandum Account

In addition to the Annual Grant and Health Grant, and in a limited number of cases, a beneficiary may also have held a ‘Memorandum Account’. A Memorandum Account would have only been allocated to a beneficiary if they lacked the ‘capacity’ to manage their own financial affairs; or if the beneficiary received a lump sum payment as a result of being ‘accepted’ to the Trust as a beneficiary after 2006.

If a deceased beneficiary held a balance on a Memorandum Account upon their death, the following applies:

  • Memorandum Account: any remaining balance held at the Trust would not form part of the beneficiary’s estate. This is because the beneficiary is not the actual owner of the funds held in a Memorandum Account. Therefore, on death, if there are any unspent or uncommitted funds in a Memorandum Account these will then be treated as general funds of the Trust for the benefit of surviving beneficiaries.

What happens if the beneficiary had an outstanding Major Advance balance held with the Trust?

A Major Advance is effectively an advance of a beneficiary’s future Annual Grant income to assist a beneficiary with a specific need. For example, purchasing a property, completing home improvement work or purchasing a vehicle. If a deceased beneficiary has an outstanding Major Advance balance, the Trust will seek to reclaim this balance via their debit balance insurance policy.

If for any reason the Trust was unable to claim against the policy, or is unable to secure this insurance policy in the future (as beneficiaries’ age and their health deteriorates) then the Major Advance will still have to be repaid by your dependants or through their estate.

The Trust, in discussion with family members (and / or the executor of the estate) will come to an arrangement to repay the outstanding Major Advance balance within a two year period.

Where can I get further information and advice?

For further information please contact Jeff Prevost (Finance Co-ordinator – Beneficiary Support) on 01480 474074 or by email