Leaving your legacy behind

Considerations when making a Will

Thinking about death isn’t easy. Talking about it is even harder. The reality of our own mortality is a tough subject, but a discussion will ensure your assets are left to the right people.

Trusts

‘Ring-fencing’ assets to protect family wealth for future generations

Trusts are used to protect family wealth for future generations, reducing the inter-generational flow of Inheritance Tax and ensuring bloodline protection for your estate from outside claims. The way in which assets held within Trusts are treated for Inheritance Tax purposes depends on whether the choice of beneficiaries is fixed or discretionary.

Bare Trusts

Held for the benefit of a specified beneficiary

Bare Trusts are also known as ‘Absolute’ or ‘Fixed Interest Trusts’, and there can be subtle differences. The settlor – the person creating the Trust – makes a gift into the Trust which is held for the benefit of a specified beneficiary. If the Trust is for more than one beneficiary, each person’s share of the Trust fund must be specified.

Discretionary Trust

Wide class of potential beneficiaries

With a Discretionary Trust, the settlor makes a gift into Trust, and the trustees hold the Trust fund for a wide class of potential beneficiaries. This is known as ‘settled’ or ‘relevant’ property. For lump sum investments, the initial gift is a chargeable lifetime transfer for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Flexible Trusts with default beneficiaries

Discretion over which of the default and potential beneficiaries actually benefit

FlexibleTrusts are similar to a fully Discretionary Trust, except that alongside a wide class of potential beneficiaries, there must be at least one named default beneficiary. Flexible Trusts with default beneficiaries set up in the settlor’s lifetime from 22 March 2006 onwards are treated in exactly the same way as Discretionary Trusts for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Split Trusts

Family protection policies

These Trusts are often used for family protection policies with critical illness or terminal illness benefits in addition to life cover. Split Trusts can be Bare Trusts, Discretionary Trusts, or Flexible Trusts with default beneficiaries. When using this type of Trust, the settlor/life assured carves out the right to receive any critical illness or terminal illness benefit from the outset, so there aren’t any gift with reservation issues.