Trusts

We work closely with Dr Mervin Messias a trust specialist, solving trust matters, including wills, estate planning and tax. He has over forty years’ experience in the legal profession, including matters such as:

  • Trusts that do not meet legal requirements;
  • Incorrectly drafted trusts;
  • Trust disputes;
  • Tax issues related to Trusts;
  • Succession Trust matters in Estate Planning;
  • Tax and Trusts in Deceased Estates;
  • The drafting of wills;
  • Will disputes.

In particular, we are able to offer expertise in the following areas of the law:

  • Estate planning. The primary advantage of a living trust is that it allows for proper management and control of your assets after you die.
  • The freezing of value. The growth in the assets will occur in the trust, and not in your own estate, limiting the net value of your estate. In other words, you will limit the amount of estate duty you pay, as the assets will be owned by the trust and not by you.
  • Tax planning. This advantage should be secondary and seen as a bonus, not as the primary motive to set up such a trust. There are many provisions in the Income Tax Act that will deem income to be taxed in your hands if the taxman believes that you are evading tax.
  • Preservation of assets after death. Living trusts allow for the ongoing management of your assets, including contractual arrangements. This is particularly useful in a business arrangement where value could be lost by selling off a business share.
  • Protection of assets from creditors. Your personal liability is limited to the assets in your name. Your creditors can not access the assets in your trust, unless it was set up with the intention to defraud creditors.
  • Profligates. Assets are protected against spendthrift children, who will not be able to go on a spending spree and reduce the assets to nil.
  • Vulnerable beneficiaries. Protection of a vulnerable spouse and minor and/or vulnerable children, particularly if a child is incapacitated in some manner.
  • Access to funds. Assuring rapid access to income and capital after your death.
  • Payment to beneficiaries can be delayed for up to a year in the winding up of your estate.
  • Multi-ownership of assets. It is not easy to divide some assets, such as a business, a farm or other property, between heirs. By placing the assets in a trust, it can be held intact, while your heirs can be the beneficiaries of the income generated by the asset.
  • Confidentiality. On your death you will become a public document. However, because a trust does not become part of your estate, the assets held in the trust remain confidential.
  • Cost saving. The assets in the trust are not subject to any of the fees or costs of winding up an estate, but there can be significant costs in the ongoing administration of a trust.

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