Download our guide which illustrates what would happen if you died with or without a Trust Will
Trust wills from £399
Increased asset protection for your loved ones
What is a trust will?
A trust is a legal structure which can be included as part of your will and can offer increased asset protection for your loved ones. These types of wills are called trust wills. We would always recommend that you consider the benefits of setting up a trust as part of your will. They are most commonly seen in the following circumstances:
- you wish to protect your estate against possible care fees in the future
- you have a spouse or partner but children from a previous relationship
- you wish to leave some of your estate to a vulnerable or disabled person
Trust will calculator
Find out how much you could protect with our trust will calculator.
The calculator below tells you how much you could protect.
How do trust wills work?
Usually, when making a will, you name people that you would like to receive your estate when you die, known as your beneficiaries. However, there may be circumstances where you would prefer that your estate doesn’t go directly to the beneficiaries when you die, but rather, that it is held on behalf of those beneficiaries in a particular way.
The people holding the assets on behalf of the beneficiaries are known as your trustees. Trustees are nominated in the will to administer the trust on your behalf. For more information see making a will, trusts and trustees.
How does probate work when there's a trust?
While the presence of a will trust won't necessarily impact the probate process, the assets contained within that trust may do. The terms and contents of the will trust all determine how probate works.
Whether probate is required depends on the assets in the estate, regardless of whether they form part of the will trust. Find out more about when probate is needed.
Types of trust wills
We offer the following types of trust wills to assist in different circumstances:
Property trust wills
A property trust will, sometimes referred to as a protective property trust, can provide greater peace of mind if you own a property and wish to best protect its value for future generations.
A property trust will lets you create a trust in your will that looks after your property (or your share of it). You would appoint trustees to manage the trust but the terms of the trust allow you to give someone (normally a spouse or civil partner) the right to benefit from the trust during their lifetime.
This means they could live in the property that's contained in the trust, or earn a rental income from it. If the trust contains cash because the property in the trust has been sold, then they have right to receive the income generated from the trust during their lifetime.
Benefits of a property trust will
- guarantees who benefits from your share of the property if your surviving spouse or civil partner:
- remarries after you die (marriage automatically invalidates any existing wills)
- writes a new will after your death, changing their original wishes
- can help reduce the potential impact of residential care fees on the property value for the benefit of future generations
Who can benefit from a property trust will?
A trust will could be a good solution for: - anyone who owns property with someone else, whether married or in a civil partnership, and: - wants to protect the property value for specific loved ones in the future - wants to protect the property value from the risk of residential care fees, if the surviving spouse or civil partner needs care in the future
Flexible life interest trust wills
A flexible life interest trust will is similar to a property trust will, but enables you to put the whole or part of your estate in the will trust, rather than just your property.
A flexible life interest trust will can help if you have significant assets or investments as well as property, and wish to protect their value for future generations.
With a life interest trust will, you can give someone a life interest in your property or other assets without those assets actually leaving your estate. For example, if you include a life interest trust in your will and your home is placed into this trust, then the person with a life interest could continue to live in the property for the rest of their life, but on their death it would then be distributed in line with the terms of your will.
A life interest trust can be an effective way of ensuring that a loved one is provided for during their lifetime, while also protecting the value of your assets for future generations.
Benefits of a flexible life interest trust will
A flexible life interest trust will guarantees who benefits from cash assets and investments as well as property if your surviving spouse or civil partner:
- remarries after your death (marriage automatically invalidates any existing wills)
- writes a new will after your death, changing their original wishes
This type of will also allows a nominated person to benefit from the income generated from your investments if you die, whilst protecting the capital value for future generations.
Who can benefit from a flexible life interest trust will?
Someone could benefit from a flexible life interest trust will if they hold cash assets and investments in their sole name and:
- wish to take care of a nominated person such as a surviving spouse, but protect the value of assets for specific loved ones in the future
- want to protect the value of the investments for future generations
Discretionary trust wills
A discretionary trust will allows you to appoint trustees to manage inheritance on behalf of vulnerable loved ones who require assistance.
You can use a discretionary trust will to place your estate, or part of it, into a trust created in your will, to be managed by your chosen trustees. You then name the potential beneficiaries of the trust and give your trustees discretion over which of the potential beneficiaries actually receives anything from the trust, when and how.
Benefits of a discretionary trust will
A discretionary trust will:
- guarantees that vulnerable people are given assistance in the management of their inheritance
- reduces the risk of state benefit entitlements being compromised by the receipt of inheritance
- potentially helps unmarried couples with Inheritance Tax planning
Who can benefit from a discretionary trust will?
A discretionary trust will can benefit anyone who wishes to leave inheritance to:
- loved ones who lack the mental or physical capacity to look after their own affairs
- loved ones who have a disability and run the risk of having their state benefit entitlements compromised by the receipt of inheritance
- beneficiaries who are in a vulnerable position or who are unable to manage their own finances
Cost of setting up a trust will in England and Wales
A single trust will costs from £399.
Mirror trust wills (2 wills for a couple) cost from £795.
Our fixed fee cost includes one of the three types of trusts listed above. Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work to be done, that price will not change.
What does a will trustee do?
The trustee will be responsible for managing the trust assets in line with the terms of the will and in the best interests of the trust's beneficiaries. It is common (but not strictly necessary) for the same person to be appointed as both trustee and executor in the will.
Trustees have a financial responsibility to act in accordance with the terms of the trust and to act fairly towards the beneficiaries, balancing each of their interests. There is also a duty of care under the Trustee Act 2000 to "exercise such care and skill as is reasonable in the circumstances."
The main duties of a will trustee include:
acting impartially and in the best interests of all of the beneficiaries of the trust
acting with reasonable care and skill (if a trustee is a professional, such as a solicitor or accountant, then a higher standard of care will be expected of them than that of a lay trustee)
finding out what assets are owned by the trust and making sure they are kept safe - if money is owed to the trust, the trustees may need to recover it
formally reviewing investments at least once a year, and taking financial advice if necessary
keeping records to show that the trust has been managed properly - the beneficiaries of the trust normally have the right to see these records
storing all trust documents, including accounts, title deeds, share certificates and investments documents and making these available to the beneficiaries if needed
We recommend naming at least 2 trustees. This means that if a trustee becomes unable or unwilling to act on your behalf, your other trustee can step in. Also, if the trust contains property there's usually a legal requirement for at least two trustees to deal with the legal ownership of the property.
Start your will online
Get started with our online will writing service and you'll get a follow up call to answer any queries and finalise your will.
Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.