Trust funds might sound like something out of Downton Abbey. Only for the sort of people who think ISA was the Fotheringhay-Creighton family’s younger daughter who eloped with the gardener.
In fact, they are highly useful structures for passing your money down through generations. Or just keeping the children’s hands off their cash until they are sensible enough to use it wisely.
If you are considering setting up a trust you need to do it properly, however, or you risk falling foul of the taxman.
So why should I use a specialist adviser rather than just a website, my ordinary adviser or my friend down the pub?
You don’t just create a trust out of the blue. They are legal structures with all sorts of rules.
Unless your friend down the pub is a solicitor, he’s unlikely to understand the complexities, while a website will only tell you what types of trust exist.
These could include:
- simple bare trusts (nothing to do with taking your clothes off)
- parental trusts
- non-resident trusts
- special trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries
Confused? The right adviser won’t be. “Advice on trusts is typically part of a more comprehensive legacy plan,” says financial planner Robert Forbes of Stadden Forbes.
“A client’s whole situation must be considered before creating a trust and this is where we add real value.”
What will a specialist adviser do for me?
An adviser with trust expertise will do everything from sorting out the right trust structure to managing the investments within it and delivering performance within the correct timeline.
Oh, and they will ensure that the tax position is correct as well – so you’re not exposed to any nasty shocks in the future.
What qualifications should I look for that others don’t have?
Financial advisers always have lots of letters after their names, but it’s best to know what they mean, rather than just assuming that they make them very clever.
The AF1 qualification from the Chartered Insurance Institute relates to personal trust and tax planning, while its G10 qualification has to do with taxation and trusts. The Institute of Financial Services Advanced Diploma in Financial Advice covers trusts, too.
Where can I find a specialist adviser?
You can use our Find an Adviser tool to draw up a shortlist of financial advisers in your area.
Then try an organisation called STEP.org, which specialises in advising families across generations. Its website lists financial planners who have taken its qualifications in trusts and estates. Meanwhile, unbiased.co.uk and vouchedfor.co.uk also have specialists in these areas, with the qualifications mentioned above.
Do so and you may avoid situations like this.
“And what about IHT, m’lady?”
“Excellent idea, Carson. Can we have some lapsang souchong and Victoria sponge in the drawing room, please.”