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FAQs

If you have recently received a letter from us about your Family Trust, and we have asked you to decide how your trust fund is dealt with when you are no longer around, you may have some questions. Please read through the following which might help.

 

What does this letter relate to?

The letter relates to the Family Trust you established as part of your estate planning. This trust holds your property with the intention that the property is protected for your ultimate beneficiaries in the future.

Why are you contacting me?

The law surrounding trusts is constantly evolving and, as your trustees, we are responsible for ensuring the provisions within the trust continue to match your intentions despite changes to the interpretation of the clauses. Your trust contains a clause which means the discretion of the trustees terminates after your death and that your trust fund is distributed according to the beneficiaries in your Will.

 

Why does it matter that the discretion ends?

The discretionary powers that the trustees have during your lifetime mean that the trust is flexible to your changing circumstances. After your death, giving the trustees discretion over distributions means that we can ensure your beneficiaries only inherit at a time when it is appropriate for them to do so. This allows us to ensure it won’t affect any benefits they receive, for example, or that we can manage the fund for them if they are unable to do so. It also means you can change the distribution whenever you like simply by updating your letter of wishes.

How does the Deed of Appointment give the trustees discretion?

The Deed of Appointment sent to you effectively overrides the clause within your trust that terminates the discretion on your death.

 

What happens if I leave things as they are?

If you decide not to sign the Deed of Appointment then, after your death, the trust fund must be distributed in accordance with the terms of your Will. Your beneficiaries become immediately entitled and inherit straight away, regardless of their circumstances at the time of your death.

What can go wrong?

If you leave your trust fund to be distributed under the terms of your Will and the Will cannot be located, or it fails, then the entire trust fund passes under the default clause, which is normally to charities. This is why we have asked for a copy of your Will and details about where it is stored if you choose this option. If you are a couple and both have trusts please also be aware that your Will probably leaves your estate to each other on first death which means that the survivor of you inherits half the property outside the protection of the trust.

 

What do I need to do next?

If you would like to give the trustees discretion over distributions so that the trust remains flexible – please select the first option on the declaration you have received and sign the Deed of Appointment next to your name in front of an independent witness who must also sign and complete their details. Do not sign the Fidelis signing clause as this will be signed by us when you have returned it to us.

If you are happy for the trust to be distributed after your death according to the terms of your Will – please select the second option on the declaration you have received and read the statement regarding distribution carefully. This needs to be signed and returned to us with a copy of your Will. If your Will is stored with Simpler Law (part of our group of Companies) you can authorise a copy to be released to us.

If you still have questions please contact the office on 0333 700 2020. Please be patient as we are receiving a high volume of calls. If you are able to leave your name and contact number we will aim to call you back within three business days.

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