Lifetime Estate Planning

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Children’s / Grandchildren’s Trusts

If you do not make provision in your Will for your children’s financial future, then whilst the child is under the age of 18 years, their inheritance is held under a legal trust for their benefit. After the child reaches 18, they are quite free to spend (or worse) squander it!

Many people do not feel that this provision is suitable and therefore include this special and flexible trust in their professionally drafted Wills.

Through the Children’s Trust, the parents can place an age restriction on the inheritance of 21 or maybe 25 years of age. In addition, they would also nominate trustees. These are people in whom they have total confidence to manage the Trust for their children until they become of age.

These Trusts are also exceptionally flexible. Should the trustees feel that it is suitable, they can advance funds to the children prior to the age of inheritance. For example, should a child need a life saving operation or require funds for university.

If you have disabled or handicapped children, you can also make further long term, secure financial provision for them.

Discretionary Trusts

Having a Discretionary Trust in your Will means assets can be directed into the trust on your death for the potential benefit of any number of beneficiaries you choose. Your estate can be paid in any amounts to any of the potential beneficiaries at the trustees’ discretion. This means that nobody has an absolute right to benefit from the trust, so this can be useful for example:

  • where a beneficiary has an impending divorce (the trust may protect their inheritance from being part of a divorce settlement)
  • Perhaps a beneficiary may be going through bankruptcy proceedings (the trust may protect their inheritance until such time as the bankrupt person has been discharged)
  • the beneficiary could be in receipt of means-tested benefits (the trust can protect their inheritance from being assessed as part of their entitlement to benefits). Please note that in some cases a Disabled Discretionary Trust may be more appropriate.


A more straightforward use for a Discretionary Trust could be where you may make gifts to your children during your lifetime and as a result are unsure in what proportions you might want your estate to pass to each of them on your death. Perhaps you would like to give your trustees flexibility to make the decisions at the time by taking into account a letter of wishes you might write to them.

Another type of Discretionary Trust may be useful to mitigate inheritance tax where a couple are unmarried and do not have the more favourable tax position that married couples and civil partners do.

Property Protection Trusts

For most people their most valuable asset is the family home.

One of the main concerns people in a relationship have is what would happen if you died and your surviving spouse or partner went on to meet someone new?

It’s possible that instead of leaving the house to your children they could leave it to the new partner or spouse. Alternatively, you may have children from a previous relationship for whom you want to protect your half of the house.

We can incorporate a special type of trust in your will, which can ensure that your share of the family home is preserved for your children whilst still allowing your surviving spouse or partner to continue to live in it.

For more elderly people, this type of trust can also be very useful in protecting your house from being used to fund residential care home fees should you need to enter long term care.

Flexible Life Interest Trusts

Property Protection Trust Wills are very useful if you are “house-rich”, but what if you also wanted to ensure your hard earned money passed to your children too, instead of going to any new partner of your surviving spouse (or partner)?

Flexible Life Interest Trust Wills are a great way of ensuring that as well as the share of the house you own, your capital passes to your children but allowing your partner to continue to live in your share of the house until they die and being able to use the income from any capital invested.

Again this type of trust is useful in care fees mitigation for those who are concerned about losing their capital wealth and house to funding their long term residential care.

Business Property Trusts

You may own a business that is eligible for an inheritance tax relief known as Business Property Relief, applicable to most types of trading or service businesses. Under some circumstances this relief may not be fully utilised, resulting in a much larger than necessary inheritance tax bill.

A Business Property Trust is a type of discretionary trust aimed at avoiding this.