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Could a trust be useful for you?

The uses and features of a Trust

A trust is a legal arrangement where one or more ‘trustees’ are made legally responsible for holding assets. The assets – such as land, money, buildings, shares, saving plans or even antiques – are placed in trust for the benefit of one or more ‘beneficiaries’.

  • Trustees

    The trustees are responsible for managing the trust and carrying out the wishes of the person who has put the assets into trust (the ‘settlor’).

  • Settlor

    The settlor’s wishes for the trust are usually written in their will or set out in a legal document called ‘the trust deed’.

  • Beneficiaries

    Persons or groups of persons that are to benefit from the trust as set out in the trust deed. The beneficiaries may include legal entities or natural persons that have not even been born when the trust was set up. The beneficiaries may be given a limited interest, such as a life interest, or an absolute entitlement to specific assets or benefits at a particular time or after an event as specified in the trust deed.

Frequently asked questions

Trusts may be set up for a number of reasons, for example: to control and protect family assets; when someone can’t handle their own affairs, because either they are too young or are mentally incapacitated; to pass on money or property while you are still alive; or to pass on money or assets when you die, protecting your beneficiaries from inheritance tax.

Yes. Many of our investment products are set up in standard trusts with the spouse and/or children named as beneficiaries. This has the advantage of being able to release assets quickly without the need for probate. It can also be beneficial in terms of avoiding inheritance tax. For more complex trust uses, we have access to experienced trust professionals and trust lawyers.

No. In most simple cases, the trustees could be family members, if suitable people are able and willing to act. This would have benefits in terms of cost, convenience and privacy. Obviously, trustees are under a legal obligation to exercise their powers exactly as specified in the trust deed. If the trustees are natural persons, i.e. not a trust company, we would recommend that there should be at least two. However, where we would strongly recommend the use of professionals is in the drawing up of the trust deed to avoid future possible challenges in the law Courts.

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