Finance - Use of Trust Structures

Use of Trust Structures


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The concept of a trust originated under Anglo Saxon law at the time of the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Before a knight went off to war, where he might die and have a tax liability, he would "gift" the assets to a trusted friend, so that his family could be looked after in case of his death.

The concept very much survives today and is used for inheritance and tax planning. The owner of the assets (settelor) "gifts" the assets to the trust. The trust appoints trustees, who look after the assets in accordance with the settelor's wishes. A letter of wishes normally accompanies a trust deed.

Upon the settelor's death, the trustees distribute the income and capital to the named beneficiaries, who are normally members of the settelor's family. As an added advantage, it enables the deceased to pass on assets without a probate delay.