A Testamentary Trust allows for greater flexibility to fit your particular circumstance
Significant wealth has been created in the current generation. Passing wealth to beneficiaries absolutely on death exposes the inheritance of a beneficiary to the risk of a claim in the event of bankruptcy, divorce, and on the death of that beneficiary, a claim against the estate.
Many clients are choosing instead to give beneficiaries the advantage of increased asset-protection, and the opportunity to save tax, by writing testamentary trusts into their Wills. No assets are set aside when the Will is made, and no trust is constituted until after death, but once made, the trust can last indefinitely. The Will can be changed at any time.
On death, assets will instead be owned by Trustees for the benefit of a particular beneficiary, the family of that beneficiary, and associated entities, and it will be at the discretion of the Trustees to decide who can benefit from the income and capital within the trust at any time. The beneficiary may or may not be one of the Trustees. As the assets would be owned by Trustees, and not by the individual beneficiary, the assets would be afforded increased asset-protection in the event of debt, divorce and death.
Additionally, income can be distributed between potential beneficiaries tax-effectively, for example to beneficiaries on lower marginal rates, and income of up to $20,542 can potentially be distributed to minor beneficiaries tax-free each year.
This Alert is intended as general information only. It does not purport to be comprehensive advice or legal advice. Readers must seek professional advice before acting in relation to these matters.