Trusts often are perceived as being highly complicated structures located in obscure jurisdictions that bear no relevance to most people’s lives. This reputation is largely undeserved as in essence the concept of a trust is simple and it can provide considerable benefits.
Uses of Trusts
At the most basic level, a trust will exist where someone (the settlor) gives property of any kind to one or more persons (the trustees) to hold for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). There are, of course, different types of trusts and the rules governing them can be complex, but the essential concept remains the same.
First and foremost, trusts are asset-owning vehicles that can provide for both current and future generations, for private individuals and families and in commercial situations. They may be created for many reasons, but the following are some of the more common examples for private trusts:
- Family protection – safeguarding assets for the benefit of children or vulnerable persons.
- Asset preservation – preserving family wealth.
- Asset protection – protecting family assets against the claims of others.
- Business preservation – ensuring the continuation of a family business.
- Tax planning – mitigating the effects of taxation.
- Estate planning – providing flexibility around the timing and terms under which assets are distributed.
- Court orders - implementing of court orders following personal injury awards or dissolution of marriage or civil partnership.
In many private situations, a family member may be appointed trustee. However, there is often merit in using a professional trustee instead of or in addition to a family member. A professional trustee will be able to act impartially and independently and can provide the required objectivity. Furthermore, a professional trustee will be able to deal with the complicated tax and regulatory issues which often arise.
While most of our trust clients are Irish, we do have international trust clients, for whom specific rules apply.
Our private trust practice has seen significant growth over the past few years and now holds around €120 million under trust.
The ITL trustee team includes solicitors, tax advisers and trust practitioners. Having this in-house expertise ensures that, as trustees, we fully understand the relevant legal and tax considerations to be addressed and can work efficiently with professional advisers to the trust.