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Trusts have been instrumental in mitigating tax since medieval times. They were initially created for the Nobility and wealthy landowners to avoid paying tax to the crown. The introduction of Trusts led to a distinct loss of tax revenue and it did not take long for the first anti-avoidance statute to be introduced; by Henry VIII in 1535. Since then, there have been many changes to Trusts and their uses and equally to the Inland Revenue rules, which affect them. Nowadays, you don’t have to be a wealthy landowner to want to take advantage of the many tax strategies trusts can provide. Many people now look to using them as a means of mitigating tax which would otherwise be payable. Trusts can also provide an effective means to protect your assets against a number of other potential risks. One of the benefits of writing a Will is that you can decide who you wish to receive your assets after your death. Many Wills are written such that assets are passed “absolutely” to your chosen beneficiary. This simply means that those assets will then belong to that beneficiary after your death. While this may obviously be the desired outcome, the opportunity to protect those assets for your chosen beneficiary can be lost. Passing assets “absolutely” to your beneficiaries, could mean those assets are at risk from Divorce, Re-Marriage after first death, Creditors / Bankruptcy or Long Term Care Costs, as well as adding value to their estate for potential Inheritance Tax. With the correct planning in place, it may be possible to protect your assets for your chosen beneficiaries against all of these risks, as well as protecting those assets for their children and their children.
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