Trusts

Avoid the pitfalls of trust administration and accounting

There are different types of trusts and different reasons to form a trust. A trust can be costly, complex and take time to manage.

Our advisors can help you with:

To make sure a trust is right for you, and that you can realise the potential benefits from creating one, we suggest you talk to us, so we can discuss your circumstances, your goals and help you to understand the implications on your financial position.

Some of the benefits of creating a trust can include:

Asset Protection

Assets in a Trust can be protected from creditors in the event of personal bankruptcy or the insolvency of a company of which a person is a shareholder or director. However, the extent of this protection will depend on matters such as the donor’s solvency when gifts are made to a Trust and whether dispositions of property were made that have the effect of defeating a creditor’s interest.

Continuity

Trusts can continue to operate after the death of the settlor without any immediate need to sell any assets to distribute among beneficiaries. Progressive release of funds to beneficiaries can occur and distribution to vulnerable beneficiaries can be delayed until appropriate. Family heirlooms can also be protected. Trusts can operate for limited periods but have a maximum life of 80 years.

Government Claw-Back or ‘Surtax’ Type Taxation

Assets in a Trust can give protection when assessing future entitlement to residential care subsidies. However, as there are strict rules regarding means, income and gifting, specialist advice is recommended if a residential care subsidy application is contemplated. Historically Trusts have reduced the impact of additional personal taxation assessed against the elderly on an income / means-testing basis such as the surcharge.

Death duty or Wealth Tax

Assets in a Trust can give protection against Death Duties or Inheritance Taxes. While there are no Death Duties at present in New Zealand these cannot ever be entirely discounted. If a capital gains or capital transfer tax is introduced in the future then, provided such tax is assessed on the profit made on any sale, and provided the Trust does not dispose of property, such tax could possibly be avoided.

Property (Relationships) Act

Whether or not property transferred to a Trust will be at risk in the event of a marriage, civil union or de facto break up will depend on individual circumstances and whether any disposition to a Trust has the effect of defeating a spouse or partner’s interests or expectations.

Family Protection Act

Assets in a Trust are generally safe from family protection claims by disgruntled family members who disagree with the provisions of a deceased person’s Will.

Protection in Old Age

Trusts can be structured to reduce the risk that an elderly person will lose family assets through an unwise marriage late in life and a subsequent matrimonial settlement. They can also protect against the undue influence of other family members or poor financial decision making.

Irresponsible Children or their Spouses

Assets can be protected from being wasted by children who are still immature and not financially responsible. Income can be made available, but capital retained until children reach a specified age.

Income Spreading

In some circumstances income earned by the Trust can be spread among any one or more of the beneficiaries to take advantage of their own lower tax rates, i.e. spouses, partners, children and grandchildren. Note that this is subject to the ‘minor beneficiary rule’, which provides that distributions to most minors (children under 16 years) must be taxed at the trustee rate.

Cost Effective Estate Administration

The costs of winding up your estate may be substantially reduced or eliminated altogether.

Get in touch to arrange a free consultation.