A Trust can be used to help manage your assets, to protect your legacy, and look after those you care about. And today, while the tax advantages of a Trust have been reduced, they are becoming increasingly popular.
What is a Trust?
Trusts are used to hold and manage money or other assets on behalf of its beneficiaries. There are various types of Trusts and many different reasons for using them. For example:
- To provide a secure way of holding money for children who are too young to handle a large inheritance
- To pass on assets when you are still alive
- To protect vulnerable or disabled people who are incapable of looking after their own affairs
- To minimise estate and inheritance tax (IHT) liabilities
- To create a contingency fund to look after you during your lifetime (e.g. should you become unable to take care of yourself due to mental or physical health).
Once assets are placed in a Trust, they are no longer owned by the person who set it up. Therefore, they are protected from claims from creditors, family disagreements, financial setbacks, lawsuits etc.
Who is involved?
There are three main parties involved in a Trust:
- The settlor. The person(s) who puts assets into a Trust.
- The beneficiary. The person(s), organisation or anything else (e.g. a pet) that benefits from the Trust
- The trustee. The person(s) who manages the Trust
Beneficiaries and trustees are appointed by the settlor. While in most cases these parties are all different, in some circumstances the settlor or trustee may also be a beneficiary.
Who can be a trustee?
A trustee can be a person the settlor knows and trusts. For example, a friend or family member. The trustee can also be an entity such as a solicitor’s firm. A Trust must always have at least one trustee. Multiple trustees can be appointed – this is recommended in case something happens to an individual trustee. Ideally, you should have at least two trustees, but no more than three or four.
The role of a trustee is to:
- Deal with assets according to the settlor’s wishes
- Manage the Trust on a day-to-day basis
- Pay any tax due (from the Trust)
- Decide how to invest or use the Trust’s assets.
What are the rules?
When you create a Trust, you establish the rules by which the trustee must manage it. However, the legal wording needs to be exact, so you should ask a qualified professional to set it up for you.
To find out more about Trusts and what they can do for you, speak to one of our team at legalmatters on 01243 216900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.