Will Trusts can be a confusing addition to an already complex and stressful time following the death of a loved one. This article will explain what Will Trusts are and who is responsible for dealing with them.
A Will Trust is an arrangement that gives named trustees responsibility for certain assets on behalf of the beneficiaries who are due to inherit them. Will Trusts can be included in the terms of a Will or they could arise out of necessity following someone’s death depending on specific circumstances.
There are several different types of Will Trust. For example, Trust for a Minor is a Will Trust that gives the trustees responsibility for protecting assets that will be inherited by a younger beneficiary when they turn 18. Other common reasons a Trust might be set up is to fund education for a child or grandchild, to provide for vulnerable relatives, or to provide income or property for a second spouse throughout their lifetime and ensure that these assets are then passed onto the deceased’s own children when the second spouse dies, rather than the beneficiaries of second spouse’s estate.
While the trustees are responsible for looking after and protecting the assets, it is the beneficiaries of the Will who eventually benefit from them. If a trustee is charged with protecting property that is being rented out, for example, the income generated from that property will be given to the beneficiaries, not the trustee.
It is the responsibility of the executors to set up the Will Trust. This might mean some additional legal expenses that must be charged to the estate, especially if the executor chooses to hire a probate solicitor or service to assist them. If you are the executor and you are debating whether to hire someone to help you with the probate process, it is recommended that you hire someone who charges a fixed fee rather than an hourly rate or a percentage of the estate. This way, you know exactly how much you are being charged and there are no nasty surprises when you come to pay. Kwil always charges based on a fixed fee with no hidden costs and our friendly legal advisors would be happy to help you set up a Will Trust if necessary.
Though the executors are responsible for setting up the Will Trust, it is the trustees who are responsible for the assets included within it. The trustees are put in control of the upkeep and maintenance of the assets and any responsibilities that come with this. This might involve securing and maintaining property, checking on investments, and storing valuables for safekeeping.
It is not uncommon for someone to name a close relative or friend as the executor and the trustee in their Will. If you find yourself in charge of both positions, you should research the different responsibilities and risks involved in each one and seek legal help as required.