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Trusts

Protect your Family Home

Family Protection Trusts

Maplebrook Wills specialise in Trusts to protect the family home against divorce, remarriage, unintentional inheritance and 'sideways' inheritance, bankruptcy and financial difficulty and care fees. We also provide expert guidance on Vulnerable Person Trusts.

Maplebrook Wills advise their clients only after having undertaken a fact find, this allows for relevant planning to be put into place.

Be in complete control in your lifetime

Our Living Trusts are specifically designed to protect your assets for you during your lifetime. They give you the peace of mind that your estate can be passed on securely and intact to your spouse, your children and their bloodline, or other named beneficiaries, after your death.

What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a lot like a Will, in that you set out your wishes about your assets and your heirs. However, a Will only becomes effective when you die and after the probate process. A Living Trust is effective while you are still alive. You can place many assets into a Living Trust, such as property, savings and investments. The Trustees will take control of the assets immediately, which can be very beneficial to you and your family in certain circumstances.

What are the benefits of having a Living Trust?

  • A Living Trust bypasses the time-consuming process of probate and assets can be managed without the need to wait for the Grant from the Court.
  • If the Settlor wishes, the Trustees do not have to wait for the Settlor to die to provide assistance to the beneficiaries. They can see their beneficiaries benefit during their lifetime.
  • You can place your assets in a Trust to make sure your beneficiaries receive them at a time that’s right for you and for them.
  • You have complete control – you decide on the trustees and what they can and cannot do. This is beneficial if at some point in the future you are unable to manage your financial and legal affairs due to incapacity such as dementia.
  • A Living Trust can protect your share of assets for your children in the event that your partner should marry or co-habit after you have gone.

Property protection

Keeping your family home in the family

A Property Trust can be created when a property is jointly owned. One of our experts can visit you in the comfort of your own home at your earliest convenience to recommend the products that will provide the correct protection for you, your family and your assets.

What is a Trust?

A Trust is an agreement between several individuals the settlor (the person establishing the trust); the trustees (the persons who will look after and manage the assets in trust); and the beneficiaries (who will benefit from the assets held in trust). Instead of your house being owned by Joan Smith, for example, it would be owned by the Joan Smith Family Trust.

Trusts have been around since the days of the Crusades so they are, in no way, a new concept. One significant benefit of having a trust is that it allows your assets to be handed down through the generations to your beneficiaries at a time most convenient to them for example, not at a time when the beneficiary is going through a divorce, is experiencing financial difficulty or is living abroad in an unfamiliar tax jurisdiction for example.

An easy way to understand the concept of trusts is to think about car financing, which operates in a similar way. If Joan Smith has a car on a personal contract purchase (PCP) plan, she will not own that car. The legal owner would be the finance company. However, the car still does its job perfectly well, and is available any time Joan wants to use it. It doesn’t really matter to anyone that she is not listed as the legal owner.

What is a Property Trust?

It is an enhanced Will that offers some protection for the property by ensuring that on the first death, that share is protected from interference by third parties. That share will also be protected from assessment for care home fees should the surviving owner require care in the future.

It's designed to enable joint owners to be more flexible with their share of the property enabling them to pass it to someone other than the joint owner. If the current joint owner remarries or decides to gift their share to someone else then your share is fully protected for your beneficiaries. This means that if the surviving owner needs residential care or gets into financial difficulties, then the first share of the property is protected and will not be assessed or at risk. What does it mean for the surviving partner?

  • The surviving owner has the right to live in the property for the rest of their life. They cannot be evicted by the trustees (your chosen people who manage the Trust).
  • The surviving owner can sell the house if they wish to and buy another, but any profit will be split equally between them and the trustees.
  • The surviving owner usually controls the Trust with at least one other person, typically another family member.

So who does own the assets held in a trust?

The trust exists as a separate legal entity and so the assets are owned by the trust itself. The trust will have trustees – these are people selected by you, the settlor, because you trust them to carry out your wishes. The principal thing to remember with trusts is that because you do not own the assets held in the trust in your own name, it is more difficult for those assets to be taken away from you or from the beneficiaries of the trust.

When is a trust useful?

These are the most common situations in which having a trust ensures that your assets go to the people you love the most.

1. Divorce and Marriage

Trusts are often referred to as ‘bloodline planning’ because they ensure that your money remains with your blood relatives when you’re no longer around. That might not be true if one of your children got divorced. It wouldn’t even be a huge surprise, given that 45 per cent of UK marriages sadly end that way. Without a trust, Mr or Mrs Wrong would walk away with as much as half the assets handed down to your child, which is probably not what you want at all. Thanks to the trust, Mr or Mrs Wrong may not get any of your assets.

2. Marriage after death

The sad truth is that the people who suffer the most after we’re gone are our partners. But after the initial shock has passed, your partner may start to feel lonely. Some may go on to find someone new and might even get re-married. It’s completely understandable. But what happens if your former spouse dies before their new partner? In that situation, your entire estate could go out of the door with Mr or Mrs New. Nothing would be left to any of your adult children. This can easily avoided with a trust in your will. It ensures that your money passes to your children after the death of your partner.

3. Bankruptcy

Thanks to healthier lifestyles and medical advances, people in the UK are living longer. A new born boy can now expect to live to 79.2 years old and a girl 82.9 years old, compared to just 68.1 and 74 if they’d been born in 1960. This also means that many more elderly people need places in care homes, and local authorities are having to find the money to pay for them. The way they’re doing that is shocking. After your death, they will take your home and sell it to pay for the cost of your care. Unless, that is, your house and all your other assets are worth less than £23,250. It’s pretty unlikely that your house would be worth less than £23,250. So chances are that the local authority will take it, sell it, and grab back the care fees. After they’ve taken those fees – potentially from several years’ worth of care – there could be very little left for your loved ones. When set up at a time when the need for care and support is not reasonably foreseeable and where avoiding care costs is not a significant reason for setting up the trust, it is possible that your assets may be afforded some protection against the ravages of long term care costs.

4. Long Term Care (Care Fees)

Thanks to healthier lifestyles and medical advances, people in the UK are living longer. A new born boy can now expect to live to 79.2 years old and a girl 82.9 years old, compared to just 68.1 and 74 if they’d been born in 1960. This also means that many more elderly people need places in care homes, and local authorities are having to find the money to pay for them. The way they’re doing that is shocking. After your death, they will take your home and sell it to pay for the cost of your care. Unless, that is, your house and all your other assets are worth less than £23,250. It’s pretty unlikely that your house would be worth less than £23,250. So chances are that the local authority will take it, sell it, and grab back the care fees. After they’ve taken those fees – potentially from several years’ worth of care – there could be very little left for your loved ones. When set up at a time when the need for care and support is not reasonably foreseeable and where avoiding care costs is not a significant reason for setting up the trust, it is possible that your assets may be afforded some protection against the ravages of long term care costs.

5. Inheritance Tax

We all have to pay inheritance tax if the value of our estate is above a certain threshold, which is called the nil rate band. That nil rate band is £325,000 per person, and in 2017 the government added an extra £100,000 to this for homeowners. For a married couple with a property, their combined nil rate band is simply the individual amounts added together: £1,000,000. One million pounds! It sounds like a lot. But imagine what would happen if the NRB remains unchanged for the next 15 years. If house prices increase as much in that time as they have over the previous 15 years, there’d be a huge inheritance tax claim on your estate. Trusts – when carefully constructed and often combined with financial advice – may help to reduce the value of your estate for inheritance tax purposes if you survive for 7 years after having set up the trust. Act now to protect your assets. Putting your property inside a trust will ensure your loved ones benefit from your property instead of the tax inspector. We can go through the options with you, to make sure you choose the right trust for your circumstances. Contact us today.

Vulnerable Persons Trusts

It is often prudent to set up a Trust for a 'vulnerable person', somebody that may not be able to make their own decisions, for example, a person with Downs Syndrome. Your assets can still be passed on for their benefit, but rather than the assets, money etc going straight to them, it goes into a Trust, run by the Trustees, acting in the best interests of the vulnerable person, who can decide on payments of funds as required.

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