At Wingate we are experienced in providing tailored investment advice to trustees and to those who are considering establishing a trust. Not only do we provide advice in managing the investments of a trust, but we also help you fulfil your role as trustee ensuring that you meet your obligations and legal duties to give you peace of mind. Our advice is independent, and we have advisers who are affiliate members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Chartered Financial Planners.
What is a trust?
Put simply a trust is a legal arrangement where one or more people (the trustees) controls money or assets (called the trust property) which they must use for the benefit of one or more people (the beneficiaries).
Trusts can be very effective in terms of tax planning and controlling how funds are managed and distributed during lifetime or after death. They are set up for a number of reasons, including:
- to control and protect family assets for someone unable to do so themselves; for example minor children or those unable to manage their own affairs due to incapacity
- Inheritance tax planning
- Funding for school fees
- to control how assets are distributed when you die
What are a trustee’s main responsibilities?
The most important thing to remember as a trustee is that trust assets are not your assets. You are safeguarding them for others, the beneficiaries. As a trustee, you have certain duties and responsibilities. These include:
- a duty to adhere to the terms of the trust which are prescribed by the trust deed.
- a duty to manage the trust efficiently. Decision must be made in a timely manner taking into account the terms of the trust and the interest of all the beneficiaries.
- a duty to invest prudently on behalf of the trust. Trustees should diversify the investment of trust assets, ensuring that the investments are made in the interest of beneficiaries taking into account appropriate levels of risk, and have consideration to taxation.
- treating trust beneficiaries equally; you cannot favour one over another (unless the trust says you can).
- keeping accurate records, filing tax returns and reporting to the beneficiaries.
How we work
Our aim is to provide clear financial advice. We have a transparent pricing structure which is exclusively fee based and agreed in advance to ensure our advice is, and remains, entirely impartial and in your best interest at all times.
This is achieved through a “Discovery” meeting where we obtain detailed information to enable a full understanding of the trust objectives and the circumstances of the beneficiaries. Factors that we consider include, the purpose behind the trust, the provisions of the trust documents, the time frame for the investments, the level risk you are willing or able to take and taxation.
When making our recommendations we will ensure that:
- we provide bespoke advice on the use of specialist tax vehicles, based on HMRC’s treatment of the trust for income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
- trustees can identify and understand the impact of income on the trust and how different income, capital and loan needs can be met from the fund with respect to all the beneficiaries
- The investment strategy meets the objectives of the trust. Such strategies could include passive, active and/or ethical portfolios. The fund management can be set up on an advisory or discretionary basis. More information on how we manage money can be found
- the trustees maintain a suitable investment risk profile.
- where appropriate, an Investment Policy Statement is put in place.
Once we have received an instructions to proceed with our recommendations we will prepare the documentation required to implement those recommendations.
Ongoing we have a regular trustee review service to update trustees on the performance of their investments, ensure that they remain on track to meet the trust objectives and that they are able to meet their obligations to the beneficiaries.
Health-check for established trusts
For trusts that are already established, we provide a review of the existing investments, including analysis and guidance as to the suitability of the arrangements. We provide an analysis of the performance, risk profile, level of diversification, effectiveness of the taxation vehicles used and the level of management charges.
We will report to the trustees following our review and advise on any action which may be required to ensure the efficient operation of the trust.
We understand that the role of a trustee can appear complicated and trustees may feel concerned about this responsibility; we are here to provide our friendly expert advice to ease those concerns.
Shall we have a chat?
The cost of an initial chat and any exploratory meeting is borne by us, so if you feel we may be able to help you please contact either Ian or Alistair on 01883 332261.