Will Trusts

A Will trust is a legal arrangement that allows assets such as property or money to be looked after for the benefit of the beneficiaries named in the Will. Trusts are often used to hold assets for children until they are old enough to receive them. 

We can help you to set up a Will trust to look after assets for the benefit of your children.

There are various situations in which a trust may be set up, and not all of them are related to making a Will. For the purposes of making a Will, trusts are usually set up to hold assets on behalf of a child until they reach the age of 18. Doing so allows for the property or money to be properly managed until the children are old enough legally to take possession of it. Some types of trust allow the beneficiary to receive an income from the property.

Family Trusts

Some people decide to set up a trust during their lifetime, and pay money into it on a regular basis. They can appoint themselves as a trustee and will have control over the money held in the trust. The law considers money held in a trust as separate to that of your estate, so the value of your estate is lowered, which means that less inheritance tax is payable.

Putting assets into trusts can in some cases reduce or even eliminate inheritance tax liability for an asset; it can also help to keep the value of the estate within the nil-rate band.

A trust can be used to provide for your spouse while keeping the estate intact to be passed to your children. It can also be used to protect the family home from being sold in order to pay for residential care.

When setting up a trust there are three main people who will be involved: a settlor, a trustee and a beneficiary.

The settlor puts money, property and other assets into a trust, under which they are managed by the trustee, until they are handed down to the beneficiary, after the settlor has passed away.

There are different types of trust designed to meet different kinds of needs. The type of trust you use will depend on who the beneficiaries are, what the assets are, and how and when you want the assets to be distributed. We can help you to set up a trust appropriate to your needs.

Deed of Family Arrangement

Under certain circumstances a deceased’s Will can be changed after their death.

A Deed of Family Arrangement (sometimes called a Deed of Variation) allows a beneficiary mentioned in a Will, or a beneficiary under the laws of intestacy if there is no Will, to redirect his or her benefit to another person of his or her choosing.  This means that beneficiaries can take full account of family circumstances, and the tax laws at the time of death, and the estate of the deceased can be distributed in the most tax efficient way possible. However, there are strict rules that have to be followed for a Deed of Family Arrangement to be valid.

A common use for Deeds of Family Arrangement are where a surviving elderly parent dies leaving their estate to their children where one or more of the children is sufficiently wealthy so as not to need their legacy.  A Deed of Family Arrangement will e`nable the parent’s Will to be amended so that that child’s share passes to their children, the deceased’s grandchildren, either directly or in Trust thus saving Inheritance Tax. We can advise and assist you to put into effect a valid Deed of Family Arrangement.

Making a Will

Your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after your death. If you make a will you can also make sure you don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than you need to.

If you die without a valid will, you have no say in what happens to your estate. Instead, the ‘Rules of Intestacy’ will divide your estate in a pre-determined way and this may not be to people who you wish to benefit. It also may not be carried out in the most tax-efficient way. If you live with someone, even if you are married, are in a civil partnership or have step-children, they may not automatically inherit your estate.

We can help you to set out in your will

  • who you want to benefit from your will (including distribution according to Islamic Shariah Inheritance Laws)

  • who should look after any children under 18

  • who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death (your executor)

  • what happens if the people you want to benefit die before you

We can help you with specialist advice if

  • you share a property with someone who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner

  • you want to leave money or property to a dependant who can’t care for themselves

  • you have several family members who may make a claim on your will, such as a second spouse or children from another marriage

  • your permanent home is outside the UK

  • you were born, or have significant, long-term residential or business connections outside England and Wales or you have property overseas

  • you have a business

We will ensure that your Will is legally valid

For your will to be legally valid, you must:

  • be 18 or over

  • make it voluntarily

  • be of sound mind

  • make it in writing

  • sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses who are both over 18

  • have it signed by your 2 witnesses, in your presence

If you make any changes to your will you must follow the same signing and witnessing process.

You cannot leave your witnesses (or their married partners) anything in your will. You should review your will every 5 years and after any major change in your life, such as:

  • getting separated or divorced

  • getting married (this cancels any will you made before)

  • having a child

  • moving house

  • if the executor named in the will dies

You can’t amend your will after it’s been signed and witnessed.  The only way you can change a will is by making an official alteration called a codicil.  You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as witnessing a will.  There’s no limit on how many codicils you can add to a will. However, for major changes you should make a new will.  Your new will should explain that it revokes (officially cancels) all previous wills and codicils. You should destroy your old will by burning it or tearing it up.

  • We can hold your will in safe keeping

  • We will store your will (with an accompanying assets log if you wish) affording you peace of mind

  • We can act as professional executors to administer your estate

  • An executor's duty can be a time consuming process, which involves gathering assets, selling property and clearing debts. We can take this burden from family members at a difficult time 

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