Trusts have a bad reputation for complexity and expense. They are, however, an extremely useful mechanism by which tax liabilities may be reduced, and assets ring-fenced from local authorities, and, in a small minority of cases, from spendthrift beneficiaries. They are an essential tool in ensuring that assets will pass to the intended beneficiaries.
In the simplest form, a trust means one set of persons (the Trustees) looking after assets (such as a house, cash or investments) for individuals who have successive interests (the beneficiaries). For example, the widow of a gentleman who has been married twice may be entitled to live in his house during her widowhood, but on her death the children of the first marriage will succeed to the house itself.
Of course there are more complex structures. Trusts can be set up to protect disabled beneficiaries, to provide school fees and other benefits for grandchildren, and to protect family wealth from claims in the course of divorce proceedings.
Whether you are contemplating setting up a trust, or need advice on your duties as a trustee, we will assist in the following ways:
• Provide practical guidance to help you decide the type of trust appropriate to your needs
• Arrange (i) to prepare the trust, (ii) to document the transfer of assets to the trust
• Arrange to deal with preparation of annual accounts and submission of tax returns to HMRC
• Keep a watching brief on the trust, hold regular meetings of trustees and arrange distributions from the trust.
Key Contact – Allan Nicolson