Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Q&a

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Q&a

Article excerpt

Your money queries are answered by TREVOR CLARK, director of chartered financial planners Rutherford Wilkinson Ltd Q My brother died recently and his will established a trust for the benefit of his three children. I am a trustee of that trust. I want to do the best I can for my brother and also my nieces and nephew, but I have never been a trustee before. I am not entirely clear what I should be doing. Can you help, please? A Being a trustee can be a privilege, but the obligations are onerous and you ought to be certain of these and your prospective liabilities.

Many of your powers (what you can do) and obligations (what you must do) will be laid down in the declaration of trust, the document which established the trust. For example, it might say that you must administer the trust for the benefit of your nieces and nephew (and their immediate family). It should also establish the objects of the trust. For example, it might state that the trust can be used to fund education or the purchase of a property.

It is imperative that you appreciate fully the powers and obligations imposed upon you under the trust. To this end I recommend that you seek advice from a solicitor, preferably one who specialises in tax and trusts and for whom it will therefore be second nature to advise you and your fellow trustees in respect of the issues which you must consider.

You will also need to understand your investment powers and the complex taxation issues associated with trusts and their investments. You have a duty of care to the beneficiaries of the trust to ensure that the trust assets are invested appropriately and that those investments are suitable to meet the trust's objectives. I therefore recommend that you consult a suitably qualified independent financial adviser to assist you in designing and implementing your investment strategy. …

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