What is a trust?

A Trust is an entity which holds and owns property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. It allows you to transfer the ownership of property and other assets out of your own name so that they can be protected for a variety of reasons, whilst still maintaining control over them.

The formation of trusts is a practice that is becoming increasingly common for family units, individuals and entrepreneurs alike. No longer are trusts only available to the wealthy, today trusts are working tools that can help protect your property and wealth from third party claimants.

In New Zealand, people are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages that trusts offer and are beginning to establish trusts earlier in their lives, for the purpose of obtaining maximum benefit from the protection they offer.

Some common purposes of establishing a Trust are to:

  • Protect the family from adverse events;
  • Protect investment properties from third party creditors;
  • To gain tax advantages in certain circumstances;
  • Reduce the chance of relationship property claims, and
  • Minimise personal wealth in relation to asset tested benefits such as residential care subsidies.

If you are a property investor, own assets, are in a serious relationship, have children or own your own business, then setting up a Trust is something you should consider. By removing assets from your personal ownership and transferring them to Trustees, you’re protecting them from any claims that could be made against you personally.

Whether this kind of asset protection benefits you depends on various factors, all of which are quite unique to your personal circumstances. At Lighthouse we can provide you with all the information you need to help you make that decision.

Trust Creation

One of the most common private and business ownership structures in New Zealand is a discretionary trust.

The use of Trust structures for business owners, home owners and property investors is widespread in New Zealand as Trusts are popular and versatile structures with many benefits such as tax minimisation and asset protection.

Most Trusts we establish are Discretionary Trusts, meaning that what each beneficiary receives is not fixed in the Trust Deed, but is at the discretion of the Trustees.

We have set up and currently manage over 450 Trusts. We utilise internal resources and where necessary, external law firms to set up and support our clients as required in this area.

Corporate Trustee

In the majority of business and property investment  Trusts we create, we utilise a Corporate Trustee. A Corporate Trustee is a Company which sole purpose is to act as the Trustee of a Trust.

The Directors are the day to day managers. However, the shareholders have the
power of appointment of the Director and must approve transactions. In this way,
the shareholders act as Trustees of the Trust.

Essentially, the Corporate Trustee company will simply be the vehicle for the
persons who would otherwise be the Trustees personally.

Benefits of a Corporate Trustee

  • Greater independence;
  • Individual’s names do not appear on property titles;
  • Limited liability for the Trustees, and
  • Trustees can be added and removed without amending property titles or lending documentation.

The use of a Corporate Trustee is a more flexible, forward thinking solution for
Trust structures

Want to know more?

We can offer a range of services to protect your wealth and help meet your business, investment and property goals.

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