Making a Will, trusts and trustees

What is a trust in a Will?

Trusts in Wills are widely used in England & Wales but not everyone really understands what a Trust Will is and how it works.

A Trust exists when one or more people look after property or other assets for the benefit of one or more other people. Trustees are the people who look after the property in the Trust for the benefit of others.

Trusts in Wills are most frequently used to protect property, and they’re widely used when providing for children in a Will or when taking care of vulnerable loved ones.

The people who look after the property in the Trust are called Trustees, the people who stand to benefit from the property in the Trust are called Beneficiaries.

What do trustees do in a Will?

If your Will creates a Trust then, once your Executors have carried out the terms of your Will, the Trustees will go on to manage the Trust property for however long the Trust lasts. Trustees normally have the same amount of control over Trust property as if they owned that property themselves however the terms of the Trust are set out in your Will.

Trustees owe a legal duty to the Trust’s beneficiaries, meaning they must manage the Trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries and must act in the beneficiaries’ best interests at all times.

Being a Trustee can be a difficult and time-consuming role, and Trustees will often need the support of legal experts and/or a Solicitor that specialises in Trusts if they are to carry out their roles correctly.

Trustees should be trustworthy, financially responsible and have good administrative skills. It’s important to talk to someone you’re considering as a Trustee before you appoint them. You should also get them to agree to their appointment, as a reluctant Trustee may not be nearly as effective as a willing Trustee or may even refuse to act after your death.

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