Trust - An Alternative to a Will
A trust is one of the estate planning tools for the accumulation, protection, preservation and distribution of one’s wealth. In a trust, a settlor vests his assets to a trustee who is under a l...
A trust is one of the estate planning tools for the accumulation, protection, preservation and distribution of one’s wealth.
In a trust, a settlor vests his assets to a trustee who is under a legal obligation to hold and manage the assets for the benefits of the beneficiaries for a period of time. A trustee is an equitable owner of the assets whereas a beneficiary a legal owner of the assets.
There are many advantages using a trust to distribute assets to beneficiaries.
Firstly, unlike a will, a trust is a private document between a settlor, a trustee and a beneficiary. Therefore the identity of the beneficiary can be kept confidential. It can be used to provide for the maintenance of dependents like children and parents.
Secondly, it could be used by a Muslim to distribute all his assets to beneficiaries that he wishes to give. Distribution of assets using an irrevocable trust is outside the Syariah law. In contrast, a Muslim can only distribute one third of his assets using a will.
Thirdly, a settlor has freedom to choose his beneficy just like a testator in a will. The beneficiary could be any person or organization. Different from a will, a trust is out of the reach of the Inheritance (Family Protection) Act 1971. This Act applies to a will whereby a dependent not catered for by the testator may apply to the Court for review.
Fourthly, a trust is creditor proof so long as it is made at least five years before any bankruptcy claim against the settlor. It provides full protection to the settlor against the creditors.
Fifthly, it is easy to create a trust. A settlor needs to look for a trustee, usually a public trustee. The settlor vests his assets with the trustee. The trust stipulates the powers and duties of the trustee in the administration of the trust. Of course, the settlor needs to have beneficiaries and assets to be bequeathed to them.
Sixthly, there is no delay in distribution of assets once a settlor dies. Under a will, the executor needs to apply to the Court vide a lawyer to obtain a Grant of Probate before distribution of estate. In a trust, it is specified that beneficiaries be provided a sum of money from time to time.
Seventhly, your assets will be managed according to your instruction. A trust can be customized to your needs such as when to distribute and how to distribute your assets. You can even direct your trustee to invest your assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. A testator in a will can only distribute his estate to his beneficiaries after his death.
Although a trust has many advantages over a will, it has a limitation. You need to have assets that worth five hundred thousand Ringgit Malaysia and above in order to make a trust. This is because a trustee will charge an administration fee annually.
Posted by Chai Yong of http://www.banyan-consulting.org
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author is a lawyer by profession. For more information on a trust, please navigate http://www.banyan-consulting.org.