Trust Wills

What are Trust Wills

Will trusts are mainly used by married couples and civil partners and are set up in conjunction with splitting ownership of the family home, to ‘tenants in common’. This means that they will own it in a different way. Each partner owns 50%. Instead of leaving this to each other, they leave it to a Trust. Upon death of the first partner their share of the property goes into trust via the Will.

Until recently, nil-rate band Will trusts were a common way of saving inheritance tax (IHT). However, since 2007 the ability to transfer unused IHT allowance ended the need to make this type of will trust for most couples, although they still ring fence assets against potential fees should you or your partner go into long-term care.

Will trusts and long-term care

If you use a Will trust and your partner dies, you as the surviving spouse retain a right to live in the house. If you need to pay for care, only your share is assessed by the local authority. The part owned by the trust is not counted. In this way it’s protected from care home costs. Government rules (Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide) suggest that this arrangement will not be contested as ‘deliberate deprivation’, meaning that you have deliberately split your assets to avoid paying high care-home fees. However, this type of Will should be made when you are of sound mind and body with no expectation of care.

Will Trusts and inheritance

Another reason for setting up a will trust is to avoid ‘sideways disinheritance’. This occurs when the first partner dies, leaving children from the marriage who might reasonably expect to inherit some of the family estate in due course.  If the surviving partner remarries and fails to make provision for their children in a new will, there’s a risk that everything will go to their new spouse instead.

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