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Trusts Explained

Posted on the 04 April 2013 by Jason Cherrington

Trusts Explained

Trusts Explained

When meeting and talking with potential clients this week, the subject of Trusts has come up a lot, especially for my clients with young children, so I thought it a good point in time to put out this update on what Trusts do. hope it helps.

What is a Trust?

Trusts have been around since Medieval times and were originally created for Nobility and wealthy land owners to avoid paying taxes to the Crown. Whilst Trusts have changed substantially since then Trusts can still reduce or eliminate inheritance tax payable and will increase the amount of inheritance passed down to your children. In simple terms a Trust is a legal contract in which you (the settlor) give something you own to somebody (your beneficiary).

Trusts can significantly reduce Inheritance Tax payable.
Assets assigned to Trusts are protected from bankruptcy courts.
Assets assigned to Trusts are protected from divorce settlements.

Who is involved in making a Trust?

Settlor (person who creates the Trust and ‘settles’ assets into the Trust).
Trustees (people who the settlor has chosen to manage their Trust).
Beneficiaries (the people who will benefit from the Trust).

Why would I place assets into a Trust? Is it not sufficient to leave them in a Will?

Avoid timely and costly probate
Assets placed in Trust can be accessed immediately on the death of the settlor whereas if the asset was left in a Will then the beneficiary would have to wait for the Will to go through probate before any assets could be released frorm the deceased’s estate. Probate can take many years in some cases and is often an expensive process.

Protection from debt collectors and divorce settlements
Assets placed in Trust are protected from being assessed to repay any outstanding debts your beneficiaries may have. As assets in Trust are not formally classed as part of your beneficiaries estate they are also protected from any future divorce settlement your beneficiary may go through.

Protect your home from being sold to pay for care
Assets placed in Trust (including your family home) are protected from being sold to pay for care home fees as long as enough time has passed between the creation of the Trust and the Settlor's admission to care.

Reduces Tax Payable
Inheritance tax is not usually payable on assets placed in Trust. Inheritance tax is a tax levied on your children after they lose both parents and is charged at a huge 40%. A recent article by money marketing showed that £1.3bn is paid every year needlessly by people who do not take action to mitigate against Inheritance Tax (IHT). With some simple estate planning utilising Trusts you can reduce or eliminate the inheritance tax you pay and increase the amount of inheritance passed down to your children.


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