Trusts, established either through a client’s will or during their lifetime, are a powerful tool to protect and control wealth for the family’s benefit. They are legal structures that enable people to place assets under the control of others, who then have full responsibility to manage those assets for the benefit of whoever is chosen, according to a set of instructions.
At first glance, they may appear complicated but there are a number of important benefits of establishing a trust (and these do not just apply to complex, high-value estates):
Controlled future ownership and use of assets, for example:
It can be specified that property and other assets must be kept within the family and / or only used in particular ways
Assets may be given to charitable organisations for stipulated uses
It is possible to direct how an asset including cash, shares, a house or a family business is used.
Capital protection, for example:
Avoiding the loss of assets if a beneficiary has family or financial problems
Helping a disabled beneficiary look after property or assets
Providing guidance to a young or vulnerable beneficiary in looking after their inheritance
Trusts are treated separately for tax purposes and are assessed independently for inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax
We have extensive experience in the establishment of trusts, ranging from simple and straightforward structures to more complex examples.
Who we help
We help a wide variety of clients in different personal and financial circumstances to ensure that their assets and protected and their loved ones provided for.
Frequently asked questions
What is a trust?
A trust is an arrangement for managing assets.
There are a number of different types of trust, which are taxed differently. Different kinds of assets can be put in a trust, including cash, property, equity and fixed income securities and land.
Assets are placed in the trust by the ‘settlor’ and one or appointed ‘trustees’ then manage the assets (the ‘trust property’) for the benefit of others (the ‘beneficiaries’). The settlor decides how the assets in a trust should be used – this is usually set out in a document called the ‘trust deed’.
Why would I set up a trust?
There are many reasons why a trust might prove beneficial in estate planning. They are a powerful tool to control and protect family assets, enabling you to:
Separate assets from your estate to reduce how much tax your beneficiaries will have to pay when you die
Control the future use or disposal of assets
Pass on an estate to beneficiaries while the settlor is alive or in the event of their death Provide financial support to a loved one who does not have the ability to manage their own affairs, through age or incapacity
Reduce tax liability
How do I set up a trust?
Trusts can be set up at any time or written into your will. They are complex legal instruments, which must be watertight and worded with precision to ensure they meet individual needs and requirements and maximise opportunities. A specialist trust solicitor can advise on the creation of trusts and all aspects of trust administration and taxation and we would always recommend clients seek expert advice.
Are there different types of trust?
Yes. There are a number of different types of trust, appropriate in different circumstances, including:
This is the simplest type of trust. Assets in a bare trust are held in the name of a trustee. However, the beneficiary has the right to all of the capital and income of the trust at any time, as soon as they reach the age of 18. As the assets always go directly to the intended beneficiary, they are often used to pass assets to young people – the trustees look after the assets until the beneficiary is old enough to inherit.
Interest in possession trusts
These are trusts where the trustee must pass on all trust income to the beneficiary as it arises (less any expenses) but the beneficiary does not control the assets that provide the income. Income tax is payable on the benefits received.
These are where the trustees have discretion as to how the trust’s assets and the income they generate, are distributed between a defined class of beneficiaries
These are where the settlor or their spouse or civil partner benefits from the trust. The trust could be an interest in possession trust ora discretionary trust