fbpx

Trusts and Estates – Frequently Asked Questions…

Tollers Trust and Estates team answers your most frequently Asked Questions…

What is T&E Law?

This is a term used to describe “Trusts and Estates”, also referred to as “Private Client”. It encompasses legal matters such as Wills, Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Court of Protection and Deputyships, Probate and Estate administration on death.

What do trusts and estates lawyers do?

We deal with a range of issues which affect your “estate”. This may include the creation and management of lifetime trusts; drafting Wills (including Wills with trusts); creating and registering Powers of Attorney; acting as professional Attorneys and Deputies when managing estates for those who are alive; dealing with inheritance tax and retirement planning; administering estates for those who have passed away, including obtaining Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration and ensuring beneficiaries receive their inheritance.

Who owns the property in trust?

Property in a trust is managed by Trustees – these are individuals left in charge of how the Trust is run. The people who are entitled to the benefit of the property in the Trust may be different individuals, referred to as Beneficiaries. The trust assets are held by the Trustees in accordance with the terms of the Trust, but they are not owned by the Trustees in their personal capacity. The Trustees are effectively custodians of the Trust property for the time that the Trust is in existence.

What is the difference between a trust and an estate? 

A Trust is an arrangement which determines a specific way of managing assets. It is created either by circumstances or a specific legal document which states how the assets should be managed and by whom. An estate is the term used to refer to everything which is owned by an individual. This may comprise of bank accounts, shares, investments, household items and property. A person’s estate is everything they own and have the right to benefit from or enjoy.

What are the advantages of putting your house in a trust?

Gifting your property outright to family members is very risky and does not have any practical benefit as it does not protect you from care fees or from inheritance tax. In fact, you risk losing your home if the person you gifted it to passes away, loses mental capacity, becomes bankrupt or gets divorced. Instead, Asset Protection Trusts can be more protective and can ensure that your house can be used and managed in a way which you can dictate within the trust. In a way, Trusts can help you to control how assets are managed after you have given them away. This may have the effect of ring-fencing your property from other assessments (e.g care fees) but please note this is not always effective and depends on the circumstances. Putting your house into trust is a personal decision which should not be made lightly. There are many disadvantages of doing so and you must carefully weigh these up before deciding on a way forward. For example, once you put your house into trust, it is no longer yours and is held by the Trustees in accordance with the rules in the trust. If your intention is to avoid paying for care, putting your house into trust may be seen as ‘deliberate deprivation’ and it may still be taken into account for care funding purposes. Please ensure you talk to one of our specialists if you are considering whether this step is right for you.

What rights do beneficiaries have under a trust? 

Beneficiaries generally have a right to enforce the terms of the Trust and to hold Trustees accountable for their actions. As a result, Trustees should provide beneficiaries with basic information, such as a copy of the Trust document and Trust accounts. Please note that beneficiary rights may vary depending on the type of Trust. If you are a potential beneficiary under a Discretionary Trust for example, you do not have any right to any part of the trust fund as this is at the discretion of the Trustees.

Is a trust part of the estate?

Trusts are usually considered to be distinct ring-fenced assets, although there are some circumstances where the value of the Trust is included/considered as part of your estate for tax purposes only. For example, the beneficiary of a life interest trust has the right to benefit from the trust assets during their lifetime. If benefits continue up until that beneficiary’s death, the value of the trust at the date of their death may be added to their own estate value for the calculation of inheritance tax. A bare Trust (i.e held directly for the benefit of a specific individual) may also be considered as part of your estate.

What are the pros and cons of a trust?

Pros – Trusts can be very useful for controlling (to some degree) how assets are managed and used after you have given them away. In some circumstances, Trusts may also protect vulnerable beneficiaries from exploitation (by having someone who is independent control the funds for them) and may allow you to leave inheritance for vulnerable individuals without impacting their benefit entitlement. Some forms of Trust may also protect assets for (for example) your children in the case of their own divorce or where you would prefer the money to be given to them in stages rather than all in one go.

Cons – Trusts can sometimes be complex and difficult to understand. Depending on the Trust, this may also need to be registered with HMRC and there could be hefty tax payments when taking money out of the Trust. Trust accounts ought to be produced every year and this could be particularly onerous or complicated for individuals who are not experienced in this area. Having professional Trustees would certainly have its benefits here.

Talk to Tollers

If you have a question or to find out more information on how Tollers can assist you with anything related to Trusts and Estates, please contact a member of our team or fill out the contact form below.

For more information...

Your personal data will be processed in accordance with our privacy policy which can be found here.

Our Trusts and Estates - Frequently Asked Questions... Experts

Barry Rogers
Partner and Head of Trust and Estates
As well as Trusts and Estate work Barry is a Notary Public which is the oldest branch of the legal profession...
Cathy Eaton
Senior Legal Manager
Cathy Eaton is a senior legal manager with over 24 years’ experience specialising in the preparation of bespoke wills, Administration of Estates...
Chris Lucas
Senior Associate
Chris is an associate member of Solicitors for the Elderly and a Member of Action on Elder Abuse...
Claire Barratt
Legal Manager
Claire works as part of the team in the Trust & Estates Department. Her main role is to assist the Solicitor’s with the files of clients that have sadly passed away...
Emma Wesley
EVCU Manager
Emma has been a member of our specialist Elderly and Vulnerable Client Unit (“EVCU”) since it was set up in early 2013...
James Willoughby
Associate
James attended BPP Law School where he studied for a Graduate Diploma in Law...
Jeremy Simmonds
Partner
Jeremy provides Wills and Probate services and Conveyancing to the established and growing client base in Rutland...
Kate Godber
Partner
Kate advises individuals and families on Estate planning, Wills, Trust requirements, Estate Administration, Personal tax and Lasting Powers of Attorney...
Kirstie Brownbill
Partner
Kirstie has been with Tollers for over 10 years. She is currently based at our Corby office where she works as a part of the team dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts and Powers of Attorney...
Layla Qureshi
Solicitor
Layla recently qualified as a solicitor (October 2019) having previously trained in a regional firm...
Martin Hill
Equity Partner and Notary Public
Martin Hill is a Notary Public as well as advising on high value estates, Wills, Court of Protection, Powers of Attorney and Trusts...
Nicola Dodman
Senior Wills Trusts and Estates Manager
Nicola joined Tollers in 2004 and now works as a senior manager in Trusts & Estates...
Rachel Rutt
Probate Manager
Rachel has over 15 years experience in dealing with administering estates and specialises in file auditing, preparation of estate accounts, dealing with tax affairs and distribution of estates...
Rebeka Clarke
Solicitor
Rebeka joined the firm in 2018 and has recently qualified as a solicitor in the Firms Trusts and Estates team.
Ruth Markham
Associate Solicitor
Ruth Markham prepares Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for clients and also deals with the administration of estates on behalf of Executors...
Sarah Horn
Solicitor
Sarah has been a part of the Tollers team since June 2006 and is currently undertaking the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) examinations...
Sharon Brown
Partner and Head of Trusts & Estates South
Sharon offers free monthly advice clinics at Age Concern Stevenage and Garden House Hospice...
Steve Bowers
Will Writer
Steve Joined the Trusts and Estate team at Tollers in 2018. Before this, Steve worked in the Private Clients division of a major bank, where he had worked for the past 32 years...
Barry Rogers
Partner and Head of Trust and Estates
Cathy Eaton
Senior Legal Manager
Chris Lucas
Senior Associate
Claire Barratt
Legal Manager
Emma Wesley
EVCU Manager
James Willoughby
Associate
Jeremy Simmonds
Partner
Kate Godber
Partner
Kirstie Brownbill
Partner
Layla Qureshi
Solicitor
Martin Hill
Equity Partner and Notary Public
Nicola Dodman
Senior Wills Trusts and Estates Manager
Rachel Rutt
Probate Manager
Rebeka Clarke
Solicitor
Ruth Markham
Associate Solicitor
Sarah Horn
Solicitor
Sharon Brown
Partner and Head of Trusts & Estates South
Steve Bowers
Will Writer
Meet the Full Wills, Trusts and Estates Team

All things Tollers

We partner with...