09 Mar 2015

A question about : Trusts for children under 18 inheriting money

A relative recently died, and in her will she divided up her estate lots of ways so that many members of the extended family get a small chunk each. (We don't yet know the exact sizes of the chunks but I would be surprised if each chunk is more than about Ј5k max). She named two people as executors: my aunt and the solicitor.

I understand that the money for those family members who are under 18 has to go into trust for them. My aunt initially assumed that the executors also had to be trustees for these trusts, but from the reading I have done that does not seem to be necessary.

The solicitor seems to be pushing for a more complicated arrangement than I feel is necessary - in particular he seems [I say seems because all communication is currently going through my aunt so may be filtered!] to be suggesting a discretionary trust, where it seems to me that a much simpler bare trust would do the job perfectly well.

My understanding is that a discretionary trust requires a solicitor to set up, but can then be administered by the trustees (i.e. the solicitor doesn't have to be a trustee). However the trust is relatively complex to administer as the trust itself must do tax returns etc.

On the other hand, a bare trust seems very simple to set up, no solicitor required (this appears to be effectively the same as the savings accounts I already have for my children) and very simple to administer. Each child's parents could be the trustees for their own child's trust.

Is my understanding correct? Could there be some complexity I am missing?

Best answers:

  • If you can see a copy of the Will itself then it may already permit funds for a child to be released to their parents.
    They can then simply open an account to hold the money (or add to an existing account).
    Creating a Discretionary Trust seems to be over the top. IMO if they want to do that, which in effect means that people who currently have a defined interest would no longer do so, it involves a lot more fiddling than is necessary or wise.
    This should all be kept as simple as possible, especially if the sums involved are only a few thousand.
  • The will create a trust anyway by default or may have more specific instructions, particularly important is what the money can be used for.
    for smaller sums handing over to parents is usually the simplest approach.
  • Hello, I wonder if anyone has any information on this - my partner died and we didn't have a will. His estate is divided between our children which is in a trust account and they will receive the money when they are 18.. I've been informed that i can withdraw some of this money for their education etc. Does anyone know if there are any specific guidelines as to what exactly i can withdraw money for? i.e. - can i withdraw and send them to private school? Music lessons? Driving lessons? holidays? etc.. Doe anyone know please?
    Many thanks in advance
  • I don't think there are deeds. Our financial adviser said it's up to me and the other trustee but i thought surely there must be guidelines?
  • Standard provisions will apply and you need someone to explain them to you.
    If your current IFA is not doing that you may need a new one
    some google searches will get you started so you have context
    I tried : under 18 will trust guidelines
    which was not that good but did find
    The risk is your kids get to 18 are not happy and take action.