A trust is a mechanism by which assets are held for the benefit of another person upon specific conditions. Rather than transferring ownership of an asset to the ultimate recipient with no conditions, a trust allows you (the “settlor”) to transfer it to another person or legal entity “in trust” (the “trustee”), so the recipient of the asset (the “beneficiary”) will only receive the funds at a certain time and/or under certain conditions.
Trusts may be a valuable tool for you as part of your wealth planning during your lifetime or upon death. Trusts are useful in dealing with complex situations, and may be appropriate where:
- You want to leave money to your child in your will, but:
- you do not want them to receive the funds until they are mature enough to manage it properly; or
- you have concerns about their spousal relationships, and wish, to the extent possible, to preserve the capital.
- You are in a “blended family”, and want to ensure you fulfill your obligations to your new spouse, but still want to leave something to your children from a previous relationship.
- You have a disabled child to whom you would like to leave a portion of your estate, but are concerned about their ability to continue to receive social assistance.
- You wish to deal with your personal assets to avoid the costs of probate and/or having the assets made public through the probate process.