Share via

One woman’s financial legacy is providing future generations of her family with a free education.

When Theresa* died 23 years ago, she left generations of her family members the ultimate gift.

Her will outlined specific instructions to set up a trust fund that would enable her living great grandchildren and all of their children, alive or unborn, to receive financial support to study or pursue a trade.

Theresa’s Education and Apprenticeship Trust has since provided free tertiary education and financial apprenticeship support to most of her great-grandchildren, under the management of a family friend.

That was until the responsibility of distributing the Trust’s funds to the remaining great-grandchildren and following generation of great-great-grandchildren became too much.

“She knew that she was not going to be around to distribute funds to the great-great-grandchildren,” says Equity Trustees’ National Manager, Trusts, Jonathan Guthrie-Jones.

“As she was getting on in age, she decided it was best to hand over the responsibility to a trustee company that would be around in perpetuity after she was gone. Given the longevity of our company, she chose Equity Trustees. This move ensured that each great-great-grandchild would also be provided for in the future, no matter what.”

She was also impressed with the expertise of Equity Trustees’ staff, given the wording of Theresa’s will provided the trustee with the widest discretion over payments to recipients.

“We, as the trustee, have a great amount of freedom in distributing funds and determining whether a request has adequate connection to the beneficiary’s education.

“This discretion gives her descendants the freedom to choose which path they take. It’s also a good example of gentle encouragement from the grave – while there’s no requirement for any of us to pursue tertiary education, Theresa is providing a key incentive by effectively removing the financial burden.”

Theresa’s Education and Apprenticeship Trust is currently valued at more than $2 million. Equity Trustees manages a wide range of charitable trusts, estates, trusts and community trusts, which distributed $92.2 million in 2022. The company oversees $148.9 billion in total funds under management, advice, administration and supervision.

“We'll ensure that by the time the great-great-grandchildren are in a position to use the funds, the value of the trust will have grown significantly,” Guthrie-Jones says.

In doing so, Equity Trustees will actively keep Theresa’s legacy alive.

“An individual’s legacy is important. Some 60 years after she's passed away, people that she's never met and people who would never meet her will know about her through the education they receive. Their education will all be thanks to her. That’s quite special.”

*Name changed to ensure privacy.

Find out more about our Trustee Services