Posted On / 06.02.2014

Protecting your Assets in your Will

Protecting your Assets in your Will

There are upsetting stories about people selling their homes to pay for long-term care, and lawyers can certainly advise on this, but there are also other situations where your assets or savings may be under threat?  

A long-term friend was talking to me recently about his daughter who is going through a divorce and wondered whether that meant he should amend his Will.  

A neighbour also spoke of how worried she was that her son could become bankrupt due to extravagant spending and asked whether something could be done in her Will to stop him wasting money out of her estate when she died.  

Difficult family situations are, sadly, common. So what can you do to protect your assets and funds and ensure the intention behind your Will is followed through?  

One way, and it really doesn’t have to be complicated, is to include a discretionary Trust in your Will. You first decide which assets are to be put into the Trust. You then nominate two or more Trustees to be responsible for those assets. The choice is vitally important as you will want Trustees to be both reliable and honest. They can be the same people as your appointed executors or your lawyer.  

The key points are that the assets are legally the property of the Trust and you are in effect charging the Trustees with responsibility for distributing the assets to anyone you have nominated as a ‘discretionary beneficiary’.  

Your Trustees would be empowered to use their discretion and no one beneficiary is entitled to everything outright, Trust assets will not be taken into consideration in any divorce settlement, by a Trustee in Bankruptcy, or the state.  

Your Trustees can be guided at the time as to how to set up and run the Trust. Lawyers can also act as professional Trustees for you if you so wish.  

As a result, a Trust can be a useful and legally sound solution to help keep assets and funds in the family and away from third parties.                                                                                                      

As always, the best advice is to speak to the experts. Battens Solicitors has been established for more than 300 years and is a Legal 500 firm. I can advise you on preparing such a Will or updating your existing one and my colleague James England in our Trusts & Taxation Department can advise you on running an existing Trust. For more information send an email to sally.manning@battens.co.uk or james.england@battens.co.uk, or call  01935 811304 (Sally) or 01935 846250 (James)