What is a will trust?

Making a will is an essential part of protecting your assets for those you leave behind. And if you have dependants, your will could be used to set out what your wishes are for them in the event of your death, including naming those you wish to care for them.

Dealing with your will is all too easy to put off. Fears of being morbid or feeling like there isn’t much to leave behind, mean all too often people do not make a will. However, if you pass away without a will, your assets will be distributed in a way defined by law – a way which might not be in line with your wishes.

In most instances, creating a will is easy to do and takes relatively little time.

What you choose to include in your will is entirely up to you, and your solicitor will be able to advise you further.

One thing some people include is a trust. The key benefit of including a trust within your will is that it offers added asset protection for those you leave behind.

Through a will trust you can:

  • protect your estate against potential future care fees
  • leave assets to a vulnerable or disabled person
  • ensure children from a previous relationship inherit even if you have a new spouse/partner.

There are different types of trust wills which can be used, depending on your particular circumstances. These include:

  • Property trust wills

Used to protect a property’s value for the future.

  • Interest trust wills

Assets are held for a beneficiary, providing an income if necessary, upon their death, any remaining assets are passed to another.

  • Discretionary trust wills

Assets are distributed at the trustees’ discretion who give inheritance depending on the situation.

How do you decide whether you need a will trust?

Why not simply name your beneficiaries in your will? Why bother with setting up a trust? Well, there are a number of reasons why a will trust may be best for your circumstances.

A common reason is because those who are set to inherit are not best placed to manage their inheritance. For example, a child inheriting the proceeds of your estate would have little understanding of what to do with the money and no capacity to set themselves up for the future.

With a will trust, individuals can be named as trustees and it is their role to administer the trust in line with your wishes, ensuring that beneficiaries are taken care of. Usually, at least two trustees are appointed and there is no reason why they cannot be the same people as those named as executors (those appointed to carry out the terms of the will).

The type of trust in place will determine the exact duties of the trustees but generally trustees may be called to make investments, act fairly to all beneficiaries, keep beneficiaries updated and act in accordance with the trust and the deceased’s wishes

Clearly, acting as a trustee is not an easy task and carries a great deal of responsibility. As such it is wise to take care before appointing someone and be sure to talk to them about it first; making clear what the role would entail and what your wishes are. 

Alongside providing support for challenging a will, our wills and inheritance team are on hand to offer help and support in creating and running a trust. Along with drawing up the necessary documents the experienced team can advise trustees and help with decision making in line with the law and the trust itself. Call 0330 123 1229 for advice and to discuss your requirements.

If you’d like to find out more about the legal services offered by Smith Partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us via info@smithpartnership.co.uk. Alternatively, speak to a member of our team directly on 0330 123 1229.

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