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Where Can I Get Advice on Trusts?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 18 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Trust Law Advice Settlor Trustee

Establishing a trust is potentially a very important financial choice. While trusts are frequently constituted with comparatively small sums transferred, it is just as common for a trust to contain significant assets.

The potential reasons for this are varied; tax and probate avoidance are perhaps the most common, but they are by now means the only purposes for a trust. It should also be remembered that a will is in itself a type of trust, as property is transferred into the care of administrators for the good of beneficiaries.

Clearly, therefore, it is important that adequate and accurate advice is sought before any major steps are taken towards constituting a trust.

Solicitors

Aside from doing your own research, for example through sites like this one, it is always useful to meet a legal professional face to face, or at least on the telephone. When considering establishing a trust, you should always think about consulting a solicitor. Many solicitors specialise in trust law and, even if there is no such specialist in your area, you will almost certainly be able to find a solicitor with expertise in a relevant and related field.

The first port of call for solicitors in the UK is the Law Society. This is a representative body that acts on behalf of solicitors across the country. One of their key services is a database of registered solicitors. This can be accessed publicly on the Law Society website; the search function allows the user to specify a geographical area and an area of expertise, or search by name. This service should prove invaluable if you decide to seek legal advice of this type.

CAB and DirectGov

If you are looking mainly for information on whether or not establishing a trust is the right thing for you to do, you may not require a consultation with a solicitor; this is likely to be of more use once you begin to consider the intricacies of your individual circumstances.

Prior to this, however, you may find that organisations like the Citizens' Advice Bureau can be of use. There are CAB offices around the country, each of which is manned by volunteers who should be able to advise you on the basics of trusts.

Similarly, the government recently launched their DirectGov service, which provides fairly extensive information on a vast range of topics. The section concerning trusts on the DirectGov website is small but can act as a good starting point, particularly as it offers links to other government departments that may be of interest. It should be remembered, however, that neither CAB nor DirectGov should be considered an alternative to personal legal advice.

Inland Revenue

Finally, if you are particularly seeking advice on the tax implications of trusts, it may be worth contacting the Trusts department of the Inland Revenue directly. They are able to give general advice concerning tax law and trusts, and can also give advice concerning specific problems or queries - but only in fairly limited circumstances.

They will not, for example, advise you on whether or not establishing a trust is the most tax efficient option in your circumstances. For more general queries, however, the Inland Revenue can be a valuable source of information.

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