Throughout life, we work hard to build up a ‘nest-egg’ of assets which we can, when the time is right, hand over to those people closest to us. Strangely however, we give little thought to protecting our nest egg until it’s too late and unless we take control and protect what we have worked so hard to build, by the time we want to hand it over it’s at the best heavily depleted and at worst It’s all gone!
A properly drafted will, can ensure your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes, provided of course that they are available for distribution after your death (e.g. they haven’t been used, spent or given away during your lifetime).
A trust is a legal arrangement whereby one or more trustees are made legally responsible for ‘holding’ assets such as land, money, buildings, shares and chattels (paintings, furniture and jewellery), for the future benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust. Assets placed into a trust are no longer part of your estate which means the assets may not be subject to inheritance tax.
There are a number of different trusts available, each having distinct advantages depending on your specific circumstances. Revocable trusts enable the assets to be given back to the original owner (you) but have little tax benefits. However, they can be used for a number of short term gains.
Irrevocable trusts permanently remove the assets out of your estate which can have a number of advantages in relation to both inheritance tax, and providing security for the beneficiary. However, once the asset has been placed in an irrevocable trust, it cannot be reversed so you must be sure of your decision to do so and know that you will not need the asset yourself at some point in the future.
We look forward to discussing this complex matter with you further.