South-African Family Trusts Explained.

What is an Family Trust?  image
A trust is an agreement between an owner of assets and trustees. In terms of this agreement, the trustees undertake that they will administer the trust's assets with the necessary care to the benefit of the beneficiaries. It is an efficient and flexible way to ensure that assets are looked after. It also ensures that assets are objectively managed and controlled by appointed trustees in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
The protection of your loved ones' financial interests is extremely important in the planning of your estate. You want to be sure that your family, and especially minors, will be looked after, and that your estate and income tax obligations are kept as low as possible, so that your heirs can enjoy the full benefit of your estate.

An Inter Vivos Trust remains one of the most valuable mechanisms to protect and grow assets. Inter Vivos Trusts are often recommended for saving estate duty, but there are other reasons, such as:
• To protect your assets from creditors or relationship claim
• To provide continuity after death
• To protect your assets if a beneficiary is a minor or disabled

However, an Inter Vivos Trust is not suitable for every individual or family and you need to consult a lawyer in this regard
Testamentary Trusts are created in a person's Will and only come into effect on the death of that person. The Will then operates as the trust deed spelling out the terms of the trust. The terms would state for whom and under what circumstances beneficiaries are to benefit and when the trust is to terminate. There are various reasons and circumstances to consider when deciding whether to create a Testamentary Trust, some relating to family issues and others to monetary and tax considerations.

A Will is an important legal document that has a significant impact on how your family, or those dearest and dependant on you, live after you die. A Will should be reviewed and updated from time to time. A change in your personal and financial circumstances should automatically trigger a review. Legislation or decisions made by the courts also impact on Wills and estate planning and it is therefore extremely important to obtain expert advice when drafting a Will.
A Trustee is responsible for managing all of the property owned by a trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. The exact duties of a Trustee will vary based on what assets are owned by the trust. For example, if the trust consists of bank and investment accounts, then the Trustee will be responsible for overseeing these accounts. Or, if the trust owns rental real estate, then the Trustee will be responsible for managing the rental property.