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Effectively Building and Managing a Family Trust [Part Five] The Running of a Family Trust

Wednesday 08 June 2016
It’s been quite a journey establishing a family trust, and making all the appropriate arrangements. Now that we’ve run through the process of setting up and managing a trust, there is only one part left: the execution of the trust, and the distribution or accumulation of the capital and income. One of the key advantages of a discretionary trust is that assets can be distributed at any time, before or after the death of the settlor. A trust continues beyond the lifetime of the settlor. You can take advantage of this opportunity during your lifetime to observe your trust fund, even if you don’t wish for assets to be distributed yet. 

Arrangements and Sanctions 
Due to the flexible and custom nature of trust funds and the various kinds of trusts that apply to different circumstances, the outcome of your trust arrangement is dependent on your own situation. 

If you have put special measures in place for certain beneficiaries – perhaps vulnerable people or children under the age of 18 – then these will be observed and applied by the trustee. Similarly, protective arrangements can be made for any beneficiaries you believe may be financially taken advantage of by somebody else, or who aren’t responsible enough to oversee their own finances. It is in such circumstances that enlisting the assistance of a professional trustee can be of particular benefit. An elected friend or family member may find themselves in uncomfortable situations or in a conflict of interest safeguarding valuable assets from people they know well. 

Distribution of Assets 
In straight-forward circumstances, assets can be distributed easily and quickly. This is another advantage that can make it a better solution than leaving assets directly in a will.  There is also the flexibility with a discretionary trust to not distribute the assets. Your trustee will organise the transfer of monetary assets to named beneficiaries when the trust comes into effect, or when they become entitled to them. This can be carried out via bank transfer or distributing assets in specie.  

Assets such as property, cars, antiques or houses, will legally be considered that of the named trustee when the trust comes into effect. Of course, the arrangements for such property will be further detailed in your trust documentation, and results will be quite bespoke. There are many options involved with the legal ownership of property through a trust Generally any taxes or other charges owed on such properties will become the responsibility of the named trustee. This should be considered when allocating assets to beneficiaries, and is another area in which the help of a professional really pays off.  
 
So there we have it. Your family trust is in place, and executed, and the named beneficiaries have had capital and income appropriately distributed to them or accumulated. As we have mentioned, although trusts can be put in place without professional help, employing a professional trustee or a solicitor with experience in the field can be the difference between achieving the results you wanted from your trust and the exercise being a waste of time. If you want to know more about how to choose the right trust company who can set up a trust to secure your family’s future download our free one page guide.


If you would like to read the rest of the series on Effectively Building and Managing a Family Trust, please click on the links below.