Trusts can be set up during your lifetime or under the terms of your Will. Property, investments or cash sums can be put into trusts. The Trust documents will specify who the beneficiaries of the Trust are and when they will receive the benefit, or alternatively can state that the Trustees are free to determine which individuals in a group of beneficiaries receive a distribution and the amount of that distribution (a discretionary trust).
Trusts can be used to protect and preserve assets for younger generations and may be particularly useful as part of a carefully drafted Will to avoid the risk of assets passing out of the family. Many couples have children from previous relationships and would prefer that some assets are ring fenced for them, rather than all passed to their spouse or civil partner who may subsequently remarry or enter into a new civil partnership and in turn, when they die, pass all they own to their new spouse/partner.
Trusts can also be used to help reduce the impact of inheritance tax. This is a complicated area and we can advise whether a trust will be advantageous for you.