A Trust fund can be created at any time and be used for a variety of purposes. Trusts enable you to pass on money or property while you are still alive, can protect the family’s assets after your death, fund a charity, or protect the assets of someone who is too young or incapacitated to deal with financial matters themselves. Trusts are not a new invention. One of the oldest trusts in existence is the City of London Trust, which has been in operation for the last 800 years and is used to finance a range of activities including the maintenance of Tower Bridge.
Although trusts can be set up at anytime, the best option for most people is to create a trust as part of the will. After all, unless you have a lot of property and assets, while you are still living you can probably administer your financial affairs yourself. Although there can be tax advantages to setting up a trust to work while you are still alive, most people do not have enough assets to make this option viable and it is simply not worth the expense.
A trust as part of a Will can help protect your family if anything happens to you. If you have children, you can stipulate that your estate can be held in trust for them until they are old enough to be able to be trusted with financial decisions. That way you will know that they will not blow the lot on a round the world trip or a ritzy pad in London once they hit 18! You can instruct the trust to make regular payments to them but they will not have access to the fund. You can set an age when the fund can be released, based on when you judge that they will be mature enough to look after a lump sum of money.
You can also stipulate where the trust money is to be spent. For example, you can specify that it be used only for educational purposes such as school or university fees, and earmark that the release of further funds will be dependent on gradation or passing exams. A trust fund ensures that the inheritance you leave your children and dependents will remain intact and not at risk from third parties, bad advice and youthful exuberance.
Trusts can enable you to continue to help your descendents after you have gone. By adding a trust to your Will it will help you benefit the next generation. If you do not have children yourself, you can set up a trust fund for someone else, the children of close friends, a charity, a cause you believe in, or anything else that you chose.
However you feel about money, one thing is certain you cannot take it with you! Making a trust will allow you to carry on doing your best for your family or your favourite charity long after your death. If you wish to find out more about Trusts and get some professional advice you can contact the Probate Bureau. If you live in London or the South East, you can meet with an adviser in your own home.