Trusts and Estates

Everyone needs to plan ahead for the future, no matter how complex or how simple their estate is.

Trusts are a useful tool, both during someone’s lifetime by entering into a Declaration of Trust, or following their death by establishing a Trust when drafting their Will.

A simple example could be a couple buying their first home together but contributing unequally to the purchase. They can enter into a Trust Deed which specifies that when the property is sold the proceeds are split unequally, this can avoid costly legal argument in the event that the parties relationship breaks down.  We draft many such Deeds for our conveyancing clients and recommend this to any unmarried clients buying jointly.

A more complex, but increasingly relevant consideration, might be to enter into some lifetime estate planning to protect your assets and ensure eligibility for long-term care if you must someday move to a nursing home, as many people these days want to avoid having to spend their life savings on paying for nursing home care.

Equally, you do not want to be responsible for disagreements and problems in your family after you are gone. Drafting a Will can assist with this by not only allowing you to decide who inherits but by establishing a Trust for any minor children who may be left behind.

A Will Trust allows you to appoint a trusted person, your Trustee, to look after the Trust monies until the date that you have decided that you want the money to be distributed. For example you may prefer that capital monies are not released at age 18 but that your child has to wait until they are more mature, say aged 25.  In the meantime, the Trust can allow your Trustee to exercise discretion by allowing them to advance monies for the child’s education or welfare.

Another example might be that you need a special needs Trust to protect a disabled child without putting his government benefits at risk, or a trust to ensure a spendthrift child does not squander his inheritance. We can assist you by determining if trusts should be established and what types of trusts are appropriate.

We can also assist you by creating a living will, using a durable power of attorney to appoint an agent, and otherwise taking steps to ensure you have control over future medical care you receive and decisions made on your behalf if you become incapacitated.