Frequently asked questions

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    What is a trust?

    A trust is an obligation on a trustee to hold assets for beneficiaries. The Trust may be used in the short-term e.g. to hold assets for minors until they come of age. It may also provide an income in perpetuity e.g. annual grants to charitable causes.

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    Why would I need a trust?

    A trust can be a tax-effective way to protect your assets from any litigation or debtors your beneficiaries may have. They can provide an income to dependants, support charitable causes and offer peace of mind that your wealth will be managed and distributed according to your wishes. 

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    How do I establish a trust?

    A trust can be established in your Estate Plan or via a Trust Deed. Seek advice on the best method to suit your needs.


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    What is the most suitable trust for me?

    There are many different types of trusts including Family TrustsTestamentary Trusts, Charitable Trusts and Compensation Trusts. Trusts can be discretionary or fixed. Find out more about types of trusts.

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    How much does it cost to have a trust?

    The cost of establishing and maintaining a trust varies depending on its size and complexity. For more information, see Equity Trustees’ current fee guide.

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    What is a trustee?

    A trustee is an individual or trustee company who manages and distributes the assets of the Trust. Equity Trustees, as a trustee company, is required to act independently, prudently and in the best interests of beneficiaries at all times.

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    Can I relinquish trusteeship?

    If you have been nominated as Trustee you can decline the nomination or at a later date relinquish the trusteeship. It is important to seek advice, particularly regarding the application of state laws to your situation.

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    Should I have an individual or corporate trustee?

    Whilst many people nominate a trustee that is a relative or personal friend, there are many benefits to nominating a trustee company such as Equity Trustees. A trustee company is legally required to act prudently and independently and is subject to statutory regulations that don’t apply to other trustees. Equity Trustees also has a team of legal, financial and philanthropic experts to manage your trust. A trustee company can also continue to manage your Trust into perpetuity.

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    What’s the difference between a Fixed and Discretionary Trust?

    If a trust is discretionary, the Trustee has the power to use their discretion in distributing the assets of the Trust. If a trust is fixed, all entitlements and the method of distribution is fixed.

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    Does a trust only come into effect when I pass away?

    No, a trust can be established in your lifetime or as part of your Estate Plan.


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    Who can be the Trusts’ beneficiaries?

    A trust can benefit someone as specific as a particular person, or more generally such as a group of people or a type of charitable cause.