Trustee investment planning: James Harkin & Sonya Partridge, Trustees of the MJ Harkin Family Settlement

The Trustee Act 2000 gives trustees the requirement to take advice over how to apply their powers to invest. We have built this service to build a financial plan that demonstrates an appropriate investment strategy taking into account the trust’s stated aims.

When our father died, he left a trust to ensure that Mrs Linda Harkin, our step-mother was provided for in her lifetime with the remaining capital to be distributed to us, as his children, in the event of her ultimate death.

Our father was relatively young, but wealthy, when he died, and Linda, aged 62 was expected to live for a significant period. We were concerned that as trustees and potential long-term beneficiaries to ensure that our father’s wishes were honoured, and be seen to be fair to both Linda and our long-term interests.

Kevin spent time to learn more about us, and to gather information on the assets that were going to the trust. Our father was a hobbyist investor, and Kevin helped to locate and value the numerous pensions, investments and shares our father directly held.

Once we had probate Kevin prepared a very clear and comprehensive plan that showed how our step-mother’s long-term financial future could be secured, and in real-terms we could expect to see the capital hold its value. In the same report Kevin showed which investments we should keep and those we should replace, taking into account cost, taxation and the appropriateness with respect to our goals.

We elected to take a ‘blended’ investment approach with both low cost index-tracking funds, and also some of the funds my father had purchased that Kevin felt were ‘best of breed’. He implemented this recommendations and spent the time to explain once these had been implemented; not just to us as trustees but also to our step-mother who was not financially sophisticated but now feels she can live as she wishes without money worries.

Each year, and more often if we need, Kevin documents and minutes a trustee meeting with us; on a couple of occasions this has been with our lawyer, and he also supplies us with a simple income and capital gains statement each year we can give to the accountant, and our step-mother’s accountant to confirm what has been paid by the trust each year.

As our clients typically demand the utmost confidentiality, some of the information in this case study has been changed.

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