Protecting Your Estate
Protecting Your Estate
How you own your home is fundamentally important for a number of reasons. We will discuss how this ownership affects the Protection of Assets from sideways disinheritance.
There are two ways by which you may jointly own your property; joint tenants or tenants in common. Most couples will own their property as joint tenants. This means when one of the co-owners of a property (owned as joint tenants) dies, the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner. However, if the property is owned as tenants in common, both co-owners of the property are free to pass their own share to whoever they wish. Furthermore, using your Will as a tool, you and your co-owner are free to pass your own share, upon death, into a special Trust for your ultimate beneficiaries (such as your children), in order that it is not inadvertently passed to your spouse’s new partner if they remarry.
You may own your property by yourself. If you are married we may be able to help you to achieve the same as above, by arranging a Deed of Gift. This result would be the same as though we had severed the tenancy on a jointly held property.
The use of trusts is vitally important when we seek to protect assets either from the taxman or any other predator. Knights of old when they went off to fight in the holy wars would leave there castle, land and valued possessions with a trusted friend who would look after it until they returned or pass it on to their family if they were killed in battle. Trusts are valued in the same way today.
There are many different trusts available to use but the three main types relevant for discussion here are:
Property Protection Trusts
Upon death the remainder of your estate can pass to your partner but if this happens without the use of a trust it becomes vulnerable. Using an additional trust called a Life Interest Trust the remainder of the estate can be protected too. The surviving partner has right to income and capital but the trust shields it from the threat of a challenge from another interested party and also from the potential impact of the re-marriage of the survivor.
The trust does not take effect until the first person dies, so nothing changes until this point. The trust is relatively simple to establish and we have the essential experience to ensure that it will work for you in your personal circumstances.
A different form of trust called a discretionary trust can be used to protect your beneficiary’s inheritance should they be in receipt of means tested benefits such as disability allowance.
Discretionary trusts can also be used to protect someone’s inheritance should they be suffering from an addiction or other illness.
Asset Protection Trust
This is also a Discretionary Trust but is one that is set up whilst you are living and provided that you are fit and in good health. Your assets can be sheltered in a trust and you are free to enjoy them as you wish; you can upsize, downsize, go on a world cruise, or enjoy your assets as freely as you wish. But the point of this is; no one else can. We will give you professional advice appropriate to your own circumstances. We will discuss this in the comfort and convenience of your own home without either obligation or commitment.
Benefits of Remaining in Control with your own Asset Protection Trust
- You ensure that you remain in control of your assets and continue to benefit from them.
- You will keep the Capital Gains Tax exemption on your house.
- You are able to nominate someone in the family to represent your interests and set out clear instructions for them regarding how your assets should be handled.
- You will also have the freedom to let your family benefit from the Trust while you are still alive to share in their pleasure.
- A Family Trust would also benefit your family by helping them to avoid the costs associated with distributing your estate on death.
- Your loved ones would not have to deal with complicated probate procedures and Inland Revenue forms, which would make the final distribution of your estate quick, easy and at negligible cost.
- When the Trust is ended, your assets will be distributed according to the terms of your Will.