Everybody wants to protect their assets for the benefit of their loved ones. People are motivated to provide for their children throughout their lives and want what is best for them. Many people will draft a Will hoping to ensure that the assets that they have worked hard to acquire during their lifetime, are passed on to their children and chosen beneficiaries after their death.
However, a Will can only dispose of the assets that you own at the date of your death and if the value of these is eroded during your lifetime, there will be little if anything left for your beneficiaries to inherit.
Lifetime Asset Trusts are specifically designed to protect your assets for you during your lifetime. They give you the peace of mind that your estate can be passed on securely and intact to your spouse, your children and their bloodline, or other named beneficiaries, after your death.
Once the Trust has been created, you can use it to 'ring-fence' your assets. Most people will protect their home and their savings, leaving capital in their bank or other savings accounts for ongoing living expenses. Income from savings protected within the Trust can be paid directly into your bank account to supplement income from earnings or pensions.
Just like a safety deposit box, assets can be added and removed from the Trust during your lifetime. If you have large expenses that cannot be met out of normal income, like a new car, holiday, or house repairs, the appropriate sum can be transferred to your bank account from the Trust.
You are named as the 'Principal Beneficiary' of the Trust and retain full control of the assets within the Trust while you are alive and have mental capacity. You are free to move home, or release equity from the Trust at any time.
As the Principal Beneficiary of the Trust, you have a guaranteed right of occupation in the property for the remainder of your life. The Trustees, usually your children, cannot evict you under any circumstances.
You can direct the Trustees to sell the property and to buy a new property of your choice. If the new property you are acquiring is more expensive, the Trustees can only be required to buy the new property if the additional capital required is paid into the Trust by you.
The Trust is equally applicable to married couples and to single people.
If you lose mental capacity
If you lose mental capacity, the law states that you are no longer allowed to manage your own affairs. Assets held within the Trust will then be managed by your Trustees on your behalf. Your Trustees can effectively 'stand in your shoes' to make decisions on your behalf but these must be for your benefit. They are able to add or remove assets or use the income from the Trust to help you and improve the quality of your life. Assets held outside the Trust will fall under the control of the courts. Creating a Lasting Power of Attorney will enable the people you choose to manage the assets that you own outside of the Trust.
If you go into care
If you go into care, and you do not have a spouse or dependant relative living in your home, you will need to decide whether to sell it or to rent it. If you have gone into care and have lost mental capacity, your Trustees will need to make this decision for you. If the property is sold, the proceeds will continue to be protected within the Trust and can be invested and you will normally receive the interest or income earned on the invested capital.
After your death
After your death, the Trust continues to work to protect your assets for your beneficiaries. The Trust can continue to hold the assets safely within it, or pay them out to the specified beneficiaries. The Trust is extremely flexible after your death and has the potential to continue protecting your family for 125 years from the date it was created. That means that all of the benefits described in this document can not only protect you and your children but can also protect your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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