Creating and maintaining a trust is no easy feat – it’s a roller-coaster ride of legislation changes and tax complications.
That’s why at Quove Accounting, we’re committed to keeping up to speed with the latest changes and developments, ensuring that our trusts service is always one step ahead – along with your family’s wealth.
Trusts are legal arrangements that allow you to give away assets – such as money, property, investments and shares – in a controlled, tax-efficient way for the benefit of specific people.
Put simply, a trust is an obligation on one or more people (the trustees) to handle assets in a way that will benefit one or more people (the beneficiaries), rather than the beneficiaries directly receiving the assets. The person putting the assets into the trust is called the ‘settlor’.
Trusts can be a useful tool in reducing tax liabilities, particularly Inheritance Tax, whether they are created during your lifetime or by your will. Although they are often thought of as only for the very wealthy, they can also be useful for people with more modest assets, in situations including:
• As part of estate planning when a couple are not married or in a civil partnership
• When a beneficiary is too young or too infirm to manage assets themselves
• To ensure children from a previous marriage benefit, as well as your current partner
• Transferring a family business to the right person
Trusts are very flexible. For example, when set up during the settlor’s lifetime, the terms of the trust when it is established can allow the settlor to influence the trustees in how it is run and the way income and capital is distributed.
Trusts can also be created for a specific period, following which the funds can pass directly to the intended beneficiaries (although not generally back to the settler) or it may continue for longer. Only the trustees can decide when the trust comes to an end.
Income Tax is exactly as it sounds: a ‘tax on your income’. However, not all income is taxable, and even then you are only taxed when you earn above certain levels.
Contrary to the belief of some, Inheritance Tax (IHT) not only affects the very rich, but other people may be liable without realising.
Capital Gains Tax
Along with Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is often referred to as a voluntary tax. With careful CGT advice, it is often possible for individuals and/or trusts to reduce, totally avoid and/or delay payment of CGT.
Inheritance Tax is no longer confined to the super-rich. If, like many people in the UK, your assets exceed £325,000, being hit with a 40% bill upon inheritance can exacerbate an already stressful time for your loved ones.