Life Insurance – Different Types Of Trust

This articles describes the different types of trust available for your life insurance. Most insurance providers in the UK offer a free trust facility, you should seek advice to ensure you have adequate protection.

What is a trust?
A trust allows you to make a gify to a beneficiary whilst still having control over who benefits from it and when this comes available. Instead of the gift being passed directly to the intended beneficiaries, it is transferred to and held by people known as trustees. The gift can be anything from a house to a life insurance policy. Throughout this article we will only consider life insurance policies or combined life and critical illness policies.

What is required to form a trust?
There are four key parts to a trust: –
1.Settler – Customer or owner of the life insurance policy.
2.Trust Form – The legal document which formulates the trust.
3.Trustees – These are close friends or relatives the settler deems trustworthy enough to carry out his/her wishes.
4.Beneficiaries – The individual(s) who will benefit from any proceeds.

A trust form may also require a witness to counter sign each of the sections.

Types of trust?
There are two types of trust when used for the purpose of life cover. The Absolute (Base) Trust and the Discretionary Trust.

Base or Absolute Trust
An absolute trust is where the settler knows from the outset who the beneficiary will be, and that the beneficiary will NOT change. This type of trust is rarely used these days due to the flexibility offered by the discretionary trust however one good use of the trust would be where a life insurance policy is taken out to protect the interests of children from a previous marriage. As the children are known and will not change in the future the absolute trust trust would be ideally used here.

Discretionary Trust
A discretionary trust is where the settler puts control of the beneficiaries to the trustees. The trustees will decide who will benefit from a wide range of potential beneficiaries including the family, they will decide at what time and in what share each beneficiary will receive. To assist the trustees the settler can provide a written guidance on their latest wishes. This type of trust is extremely flexible and provides a degree of control over the beneficiaries.

Split Discretionary Trust
Where a life insurance policy includes terminal illness benefit and critical illness cover a split discretionary trust can be used, this provides the added benefit of paying out the lump sum to the settler if he suffers a critical illness or diagnosed with terminal illness, but if they suffer loss of life the discretionary trust would apply.

Copyright (c) 2010 Steve Wentworth

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