Discretionary Living Trusts A legacy for generations

Written by Trust Specialist, Mervin Messias, it is the culmination of knowledge and expertise that has been acquired over many years’ study and practice of Trust law.

The author recommends the use of Trusts as part of estate planning because they provide solutions to many potentially complicated problems related to asset protection, succession planning, and disability protection. Many little-known benefits of Trusts are revealed to help protect your hard-earned wealth for generations to come. A Trust circumvents the whole process of winding up an estate, together with its potential delays, hassles and frustration.

In fact, a Trust deserves pride of place in any estate plan. It means business as usual, even after death, with no executor, executor’s fees or estate duty.

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    Caring and providing for one’s children is tough enough as a couple. But, as a single parent, the emotional and financial load increases significantly and the scariest question must be, “What will become of my children if something happens to me?”.
    Single parents are single for a reason – either by choice or the result of a break-up, divorce or death. It is common for the non-custodial parent to step up to the plate when something dire happens to the custodial parent, but what if he or she is dead, unwilling or unsuitable?


    • Abusive and violent, with criminal issues.
    • An addict.
    • Destitute.
    • Irresponsible.
    • A gamete donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

    If something dire should happen to you, would you expect your family or close friends to take your children in? Ask yourself, would they want to, could they afford to, and at what cost to your children? The issue of guardianship is a tricky one and a great deal of thought is required in order to put plans in place that would preserve the well-being, development and upkeep of your children in the event of your demise, as a single parent.
    Ideally, you would choose a supportive network of people with the children’s best interests at heart, people who would be a positive influence in your children’s lives.

    So, how could you assist with securing their financial future?

    Plan A:

    A Discretionary Living Trust. Trusts are for everyone. The critical benefit to a single parent is that you get to secure the future of your children, whether you are alive (or not).

    • The terms and conditions of your children’s care are determined by you in the trust deed.
    • The trustees are required to abide by the terms and conditions you determined in the deed. They are also required to invest and manage the assets so that the returns benefit the trust.
    • You get to nominate the trustees, people entrusted with the financial welfare of your children.
    • You can be a trustee.
    • The assets you transfer into the trust remain protected and inaccessible to third parties (like ex-spouses, partners or creditors).
    • Your succession plan is secured and no one but those you determined by name in the trust deed can receive any trust property, such as capital or interest from investments.
    • If something dire should happen to you, the trustees will continue to manage the trust, without interruption to the flow of benefits to your beneficiaries. Provision for their health, education and upkeep is secure for as long as the assets last.
    • Similarly, if the ‘dire’ involves some form of incapacitation, the trust will take care of you while you recover and, you will be spared the prospect of curatorship.

    A discretionary living trust is a complex legal mechanism that is advantageous on multiple levels. Talk to a Trust Specialist about your specific requirements as a single parent and have your trust deed uniquely structured to accommodate the requirements that will secure your children’s future.




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