You Can't Take It With You
You may have heard the saying "you can't take it with you", and that may be true but you can have a say over how your money is managed after you're gone in a way that shapes how people remember you and benefits others. This can be done by setting up a Trust and is the closest you can get to ruling from the grave
You may not know what a Trust is and don't worry, you're not alone. It's too easy to get lost in the legalese and nuances of Trust and legal jargon. Now I expect the very words "trust fund" conjure up images of super-wealthy, entitled children, with wealth passing down through the generations of aristocratic families but actually this is far from the case.
Trusts are not something just the wealthy need to be concerned with. You may not feel that you have much to leave but actually, you have worked your whole life to amass your wealth, however, great or small and you probably have more to protect than you might think. Trusts are actually very common and play a key role in many aspects of everyday life. Trusts are particularly useful when planning how money and assets should pass from one generation to another, especially when family structures are complicated by divorces and second marriages. This; coupled with the growing frequency of marriage breakdowns, an ageing population and rising prosperity; makes Trusts an excellent tool for long-term planning to ensure a family’s financial stability and security.
A Trust is simply a way for a person (known as the Settlor) to give property to another (the Trustee) to hold for the benefit of someone else or a group of people (known as the beneficiaries). All of the details are set out in a document (the Trust Instrument), which could be a Will or a Trust Deed. A Trust can take effect during your lifetime or following your death.
If you have children or grandchildren and want to think outside of the “trust fund box,”. You don't have to leave your money outright and actually it is often better not to. Statistics have show that 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation. You can instead keep your money in Trust to pay for their education, their driving lessons or even their first home. You can give your Trustees the final decision on who should benefit and when, making Trusts completely flexible in a such volatile and uncertain world. They can adapt to any situation or circumstance and protect your money and your beneficiaries, from things such as your child divorcing or having money worries or suffering from an addiction. Warren Buffett, a world famous investor with an estimated net worth of nearly $70 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world once said that he would give his children:
“enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”
Trusts do not have to be boring or stuffy, they can be a creative way for you to reflect who you are and legacy you want to leave. For example, you can use Trusts to support causes you believe in and show that you care about your community. You can leave money to an animal conservation that supports endangered animals, arrange a one-time cleanup of an animal habitat, donate to a not for profit organisation that works to provide clean water in developing countries, or contribute to any other charitable organisation that you care about.
A trust is about more than just money. It reflects the life choices that you made in the context of specific beliefs and values. You are much more than your financial portfolio and assets. A trust fund should reflect how you live your life, what you care about and how your values have influenced your decisions over the years. Even if you don’t have much money, you can still leave a legacy.
How do you want to be remembered?