Setting up a Trust
Trusts help you control and protect your assets
One of the most effective ways you can manage your estate planning is through setting up a trust. These are no longer the sole domain of the super-rich. Trusts are incredibly useful and flexible devices that people employ for all sorts of different purposes, including Inheritance Tax planning.
A trust is a legal arrangement where one or more trustees (for example your children or a trusted friend) are made legally responsible for assets. The assets – such as land, money, buildings, shares or even antiques – are placed in trust for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries (that’s you and anyone else you want to benefit, such as your children, friends, or charities for example).
In its simplest form, a trust is just a legal mechanism for separating the ownership of an asset into two parts: the ‘legal’ ownership on the one hand, and the ‘beneficial’ ownership on the other hand.
It is in the course of Inheritance Tax planning, though, that people are most likely to come face to face with trusts and seek to get an understanding of what they are and how they work. Their use is widespread and, despite some recent adverse changes in tax law, they remain an important tool in estate planning.
The purpose of a trust
Trusts may be set up for a number of reasons, for example:
• To control and protect family assets
• When someone is too young to handle their affairs
• When someone can’t handle their affairs because they are incapacitated
• To pass on money or property while you are still alive
• To pass on money or assets when you die under the terms of your will – known as a ‘will trust’
• Under the rules of inheritance that apply when someone dies without leaving a valid will (England & Wales only)
Setting up a trust
There are now three main types of trusts. Any number of different types of investments can be held in a trust, so you should obtain professional advice to decide which is best for you.
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