Do I need a family trust?
A Trust is a legal structure which can protect your home and other assets. It is also an efficient structure for providing financial assistance to your loved ones.
A Trust is useful for protecting your home and other assets when:
- you have a business and want protection from creditors or the risk of business failure
- you have an occupation with risk of being personally sued
- you want protection from financial loss due to relationship failure
- you want to protect your children from financial loss due to failures in their relationships
- you want protection from claims by your partner's children from a previous marriage
- you want to ensure that when you die your assets go to your loved ones as you intended
Some ways you can use a Trust to provide financial assistance to your loved ones:
- There may be income tax savings if you are using trust income to pay tertiary education for your children
- There may be income tax savings if you are using trust income to help family members with special needs
- The trust can help finance your children into their homes in a way that the funds are protected from relationship failures
We do not recommend using trusts for the sole purpose of reducing tax or becoming eligible for rest home subsidies in your old age. Tax and social welfare laws are constantly changing. IRD and other government departments often challenge arrangements that lack commercial reality or where the intention was to manipulate the tax or welfare systems.
What are the disadvantages of family trusts?
- Loss of ownership of assets - the trustees will control the assets that you transfer to the trust. You can retain some control by holding the power to appoint and/or remove trustees, or by being a trustee yourself.
- Administration - you need to allow for the time and cost involved with meeting the trust's administrative, gifting and annual accounting requirements.
- Cost of creating the trust & transferring assets into it - this will depend on the complexity of your trust and the nature of the assets to be transferred
- Future law changes which may affect some of the original objectives of the trust
Trusts are an efficient structure for protecting your assets and providing financial assistance to family members. However, a trust must be managed, maintained and accounted for on an ongoing basis, just like the assets and investments it will own. The real benefits of having a well planned and maintained trust are usually in the future, often when something in your life goes wrong.
Contact us today for a no obligation discussion to learn more about trusts and how they can help you. We have extensive experience and expertise in trusts and will work closely with your lawyer to get the best structure for you.