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A trust is created where a person, referred to as "the Settlor" transfers assets to "Trustees" (appointed by the Settlor who could be friends / family / solicitors etc) entrusting them to hold those assets for the benefit of others called "beneficiaries" for a certain period of time ("the Trust Period") which is usually a period of up to one hundred and twenty five years
Why use a trust?
Trusts are generally used to protect assets for particular beneficiaries or particular purposes, to save inheritance tax, or a combination of both. As such, trusts can be included within wills or created during a person's lifetime.
A person with assets to spare (a donor) may be prepared to make absolute gifts of those assets to relatives or friends. A direct gift has the merit of simplicity and will be classed a "Potentially Exempt Transfer". In other words, providing the donor survives for seven years, and does not retain a benefit, the value of the gift will not be added to the value of that donor's estate for the purpose of calculating Inheritance Tax on death.
There are, however, a number of reasons why a donor may not wish to make absolute gifts. For example where children or grandchildren are not mature enough to deal with sums of money; where there is the possibility that more children or grandchildren will be born; where the children themselves own estates which would suffer Inheritance Tax at their death.
A trust would enable these issues to be taken into account without losing complete control over the assets gifted.
A trust can also allow a particular person to benefit from a gift of assets for a period of time, after which, those assets can pass to different persons, and can even create flexibility in case circumstances change.
By gifting the assets to a trust, therefore, rather than to an individual outright, a donor is able to remove assets from his estate, so that the "seven year clock" can commence ticking, whilst at the same time retaining control and flexibility if required.
Our trust specialists can:
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