Protect Your Assets by Making a Trust

When you die, your hard-earned assets could fall into the hands of people you don’t know. Whether that’s a new spouse for a partner you leave behind, long lost family members coming crawling out of the woodwork to claim their share, or even the taxman, everyone’s out to get their greedy mitts on your treasure.

Making a Trust helps you protect your treasure by only giving the key to people you trust.

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Why do I Need a Trust?

A Trust is like a treasure chest of your assets that you store away for safekeeping – like a pirate hoarding their booty. This allows you to control who has access, and safeguards your money, your property, and other valuables from the wrong people. Many people don’t understand the rules of inheritance until it’s too late, meaning they lose large portions of their estate. Don’t let it happen to you!

Without a Trust, everything you’ve worked hard for could fall into the wrong hands, allowing the taxman or a greedy family member access to your estate.

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Future estates could be taxed up to 40% if they go over the threshold.

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In 2019, the government gained £3.49 Billion in inheritance tax from people’s estates.

What Are The Main Threats to My Assets?

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Tax Charges

If you leave an estate in your Will, it’ll become part of the assets of your beneficiaries. They’ll be chuffed – their estate will grow massively. It could, however, impact the inheritance of future generations, as when your beneficiaries pass away, their estate, now inflated by yours, will likely be pushed over the tax threshold. If it does, it could be taxed up to 40%. You don’t want the taxman robbing 40% of your hard-earned estate!

If you put your assets in a Trust, however, they then exist outside of your beneficiaries assets – they don’t technically own them. This means they’re much less likely to break the threshold. Unlucky, taxman! Hands off.

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Inheritance Laws

Leaving your assets to your loved ones in a Will isn’t enough to ensure control over your assets in the long term. If your partner remarries after your death, it might end up disqualifying your children from inheriting anything you’ve left behind. This is known as ‘sideways inheritance’.

With a Trust, you can set out your wishes exactly, ensuring your children inherit what’s rightly theirs, whatever happens. The assets within the Trust are protected from the standard lines of inheritance and this prevents anyone else from distributing your estate to someone you wouldn’t want to have it.

Watch the Video to Find Out Who the Biggest Threats to Your Assets Are…

How Can a Trust Help me Protect my Assets?

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Choose exactly who has access to your assets.

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Enjoy your privacy – Trusts aren’t public documents, unlike Wills.

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Save on inheritance tax – don’t let your loved ones lose out.

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Provide better financial support for your dependants’ futures.

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Give your loved ones quicker access to their inheritance when you’re gone.

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Gain better flexibility over how your assets are managed in the long-term.

The Trusts we offer are an optional addition to our Bespoke Will service. Click here to find out more about Bespoke Wills.

How Does a Trust Work?

A Trust allows you to split the ownership of your assets in any way you see fit. Think of it as a treasure chest which you can fill with money, property and other valuables. By placing them in the chest, you control who has access by only giving the key to those you trust.

There are three main roles in the functioning of a Trust. Keep in mind that all parties involved in the Trust do not have to be exclusive in their roles.

The Settlor

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Deposits their assets in the chest for safekeeping, and appoints the people who will guard it.

The Trustee

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Guards the chest, and follows the guidelines outlined in the Trust by the settlor.

The Beneficiary

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Has access to the chest, and benefits from the assets when the guidelines allow.

Watch the Video To See How a Trust Could Help You Protect Your Assets…

Which Type of Trust Best Suits Your Needs?

Will Trust

Create a Trust within your Will, which lets you protect assets you hope to pass on to your family.

 

Discretionary Trust

Allow your trustees to distribute all or part of your estate as and when they see fit.

 
Will Trust

Pass Your Assets onto Your Loved Ones

With a Will Trust, you can place your percentage of any property ownership into a Trust. That way, if you die before your partner, they’ll be able to carry on living in your home. It also means that your assets won’t be considered in any assessments made of your partner’s situation, as they’d still only legally own their part of the house. Doing this can help avoid large tax bills.

By leaving your assets in a Trust in your Will, you can make sure that your loved ones are supported when they need it most, by allowing them to access their inheritance without any problems or delay.

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If you leave your property in a Trust in your Will, it’ll create a right to occupy (known as a life tenant) for someone who survives you – the beneficiary of the Trust. It can also help avoid large taxes being paid on the property.

The Trusts we offer are an optional addition to our Bespoke Will service. Click here to find out more about Bespoke Wills.

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If you leave your property in a Trust in your Will, it will create a right to occupy for someone who survives you, who you named as a beneficiary of the Trust in your Will. This can help avoid large taxes to be paid on the property.

Discretionary Trust

Not Sure How You Want to Distribute Your Assets?

A Discretionary Trust allows you to place assets in a Trust for your loved ones to benefit from, even if you haven’t decided how to distribute them yet. These are useful if you’ve got a growing family or children who aren’t old enough to manage funds themselves.

The terms of a Discretionary Trust allow your trustees to choose when to give your assets to your beneficiaries. You’ll need to appoint a person you trust to manage your assets, so you can be sure they will be distributed fairly, whatever the circumstances.

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Although ultimate control over the Trust is given to the trustee, you can create a ‘Letter Of Wishes’ to go with the document. This gives guidance to your trustees on how you want the funds to be handled on your behalf, but keep in mind that they don’t have to follow it – it’s not legally binding.

The Trusts we offer are an optional addition to our Bespoke Will service. Click here to find out more about Bespoke Wills.

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Although ultimate control over the Trust is given to the trustee, you can create a ‘Letter Of Wishes’ to go with the document. This gives guidance to your trustees on how you want the funds to be handled on your behalf, but keep in mind that they don’t have to follow it – it’s not legally binding.

Who Can I Appoint as a Trustee?

You’ve got to make sure that no matter what type of Trust you’re creating, you choose responsible and reliable trustees. All trustees (and there can be more than one per Trust) must meet the following criteria:

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They must be at least 18 years of age.

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They can be a family member, friend or professional acting on your behalf.

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If you’re creating a Trust which will be effective whilst you’re alive, you can be the trustee.

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You must be confident that they have the best interests of the beneficiaries at heart.

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We advise you to choose at least 2 trustees, but no more than 4. Make sure there’ll be no tension between the trustees.

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If you’d rather have someone outside of your family be a trustee, you can appoint a professional such as a solicitor, Trust company or accountant.

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They’ll need to fully understand the responsibility of managing the Trust on your behalf.

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It’s a good idea to name substitute trustees, to replace a trustee should anything happen to them.

In What Situations Might I Want a Trust?

A Trust can include any wishes about how your estate should be handled by the trustee, and you are able to express more complex wishes in how you’d like your estate to be managed.

Case One

Heather and Mark have 2 young children. Heather is lucky enough to be very comfortable thanks to her career, and wants to make sure that she’s able to finance important aspects of her children’s futures, including money for studies, driving lessons, and helping them get onto the property ladder when they’re old enough.

Heather later finds out that she’s ill, and her concerns for her children’s future come to a head. She’s worried that when she dies all of her assets will automatically pass to Mark under the UK’s rule of intestacy, and become part of his estate. As they’re only a young couple, Heather knows there’s a chance that Mark might re-marry. This, in turn, would mean that all of the money that Heather had saved for her children could end up being passed directly to someone else in the future, effectively disinheriting her children from the line of inheritance.

How Would a Trust Help Heather?

If Heather places the portion of her assets she’s set aside for her children into a Trust, it’ll be saved for them specifically and won’t automatically pass to Mark under the UK’s rule of intestacy. Whether Mark marries again or not, the money in the Trust will only ever be accessible to the children, just as Heather wanted.

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Case Two

Derek is a widower with 2 grown up children. He’s writing his Will in order to ensure that his children receive what he wishes them to after he dies, including property he owns and a share of his capital. However, one of Derek’s children, Alice, is married to a man that Derek doesn’t trust or even like. Derek’s worried that, should Alice and her husband get divorced after Derek dies, her husband will receive part of Derek’s assets in a divorce settlement.

After Derek’s death, Alice receives a house from his Will along with some money. Alice later does get divorced and ends up having to split her assets with her ex-husband. She sells the house and splits the money from the sale with her ex-husband – she doesn’t benefit from the nest egg that Derek intended to leave for her.

How Would a Trust Help Derek?

In order to ensure that Alice retains sole access to the assets that he left her, Derek could put the property and money into a Trust. The Trust would form part of his Will and this means that although Alice can benefit from the assets, she doesn’t technically own them and therefore it won’t form part of her estate. This protects Derek’s assets from any divorce settlements and means her ne’er-do-well husband won’t benefit from it.

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The Trusts we offer are an optional addition to our Bespoke Will service. Click here to find out more about Bespoke Wills.

Questions

  • The trustee takes on full control of the trust fund if the beneficiary is under 18, otherwise the trust funds pass directly to the beneficiary. One of the main benefits of having a Trust in place is, should the settlor die, the beneficiaries receive the assets in the Trust Fund quicker than they would if they were to pass through probate.

  • This document supports the Trust Deed and outlines your wishes for the assets placed within the Trust. Although not legally binding, it gives guidance to the trustees on how you’d like your Trust to be executed on your behalf. You can update this as often as you want without having to amend the Trust Deed itself.

  • When the beneficiary of a Trust dies, the Trust is then “wound-up”. When creating your Trust Deed, you should name back-up beneficiaries to inherit any assets which remain in the fund if the original beneficiary dies. This can be family, friends or even charities.

  • It depends on the type of Trust. If the Trust Deed states that they can’t access funds before a certain age, or must meet a set of requirements, then it’s unlikely that assets will be released early without very good reason.

    If the Deed states that the beneficiary can have discretionary access to the Trust at any time, then the beneficiary will need to formally petition the trustee. The trustee then decides whether to release the funds.

  • It depends on the type of Trust. Some types of Trusts are tax exempt, or are only subject to charges if they’re over a certain value. There are three main tax implications to consider when creating your Trust, including:

    • Income Tax
    • Capital Gains Tax
    • Inheritance Tax

    To find out more about how taxes can affect you, and how to protect your funds as much as possible, just get in touch.

  • No, you can also put companies, stocks and other valuable assets into a Trust. It’s not limited to money and property.

  • Only you, the trustee, and any beneficiaries are able to see the Trust documentation. Unlike Wills and some other legal documents, Trusts aren’t made public, even after death. It’s another benefit of using Trusts alongside or instead of a Will, as the contents remain private at all times.

  • With so many types of Trusts available, it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’re here to listen to your personal circumstances and wishes – then, we can guide you towards the best Trust for you. With so many complexities, you need to seek the advice of a specialist to avoid any unwanted issues.