Simply defined, a Trust is a legal arrangement that allows you transfer the management of your assets to another entity (a Trustee) for the benefit of some other persons.
The Trust so created, helps you minimize estate taxes, avoid probate and seamlessly transfer your assets to named beneficiaries. A Trust created during your lifetime is referred to as a Living Trust.
Why you need a Trust
While most people view Trusts as a foreign concept, others do not believe in its workability. However, when properly structured and used effectively, a Trust helps you to:
- Seamlessly transfer wealth to named beneficiaries
- Save on Estate taxes
- Avoid probate and third party supervision
- Prevent interference from third parties and creditors
- Maintain control over your assets in the event that you become unable to manage them
- Maintain control over assets even after you are no longer physically present
A trust can be set up to serve many purposes; for example, you can set up a trust with the sole purpose of paying for the education of your children, grandchildren or other relatives. Structured properly, funds in the Trust cannot be used for any other purpose other than the intended purpose; in this case, paying tuition and education-related expenses. It cannot also be used for anyone not mentioned as a beneficiary in the Trust arrangement. Therefore, the Settlor (creator of the Trust arrangement) maintains full control whether physically present or not.
No Need to Worry
The beauty of a Trust arrangement is that it provides for minimal disruptions (if any at all) in the running and management of your assets. This means that beneficiaries continue to enjoy the full benefit of the Trust arrangement whether or not you are available.
Two key features enable this process:
Objective of the Trust – Trust objectives are the goals you, as the Settlor of the Trust, seek to achieve by creating the Trust. These objectives become the bedrock upon which the Trustees conduct themselves. You can choose a number of objectives – from investment and upkeep, to medicals and education – the list is endless. The key is ensure that your thoughts have been adequately captured.
Trust Protector – The idea behind the Trust Protector is to have somebody who can “watch” over the Trustee, ensuring the Trustee carries out the objectives of the Trust to the letter. In real terms, the Trust Protector can be an individual (or even a team of individuals) with very little say in the day-to-day administration of the Trust. The end result is that even when you become unable to oversee your Trust, the Trust Protector can continue to serve as a “guardian angel” of sorts over your Trust assets and protect your beneficiaries.
A Trust can be an important part — and in many cases, the most important part — of your Estate Plan. If you have questions or require support with setting up a Living Trust, we will be happy to help. Simply email email@example.com. Next week, we will look at Children Education Trust and share relevant insights to guide you in developing your Living Trust. Look out for the article on this page.
For more insights on Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, Executorship and Estate Administration, tune in to the Legacy Series on Classic 97.3 FM Lagos by 7pm on Mondays or Cool 96.9FM Abuja, by 8.30am on Tuesdays.
Visit www.fbnquest.com/legacyseries for more information.
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