What is a Protective Property Trust and How does it work?

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A Protective Property Trust (PPT) in a Will can help protect your property from an assessment for long-term care home fees in the future.

The share of the family home that belongs to the first partner to die (usually 50%) is placed into the PPT . This share of the property is then ‘ring-fenced’ for your loved ones, with the surviving partner being able to benefit from this share of the property while they are still alive and can continue to live in it until their death.

When the surviving partner passes away, the share of the property in the trust will then be passed on to the beneficiaries, which are usually the children or loved ones of the family.

This type of trust protects your children’s inheritance in the event that the surviving partner were to remarry. The trust can also provide inheritance for children of previous relationships if the person creating the PPT wishes.

Who would benefit from a Protective Property Trust?

This type of trust in a Will would be beneficial for couples who may be concerned about the possibility of their home being used for long-term care fees in the future.

It would suit you if:

  • You want to protect your home and estate from the cost of future care home fees
  • You want to ensure that your children benefit from your share of your property on your death
  • You want your surviving partner to be able to remain in your property after your death, but to also safeguard your children’s inheritance in the event of your partner remarrying
  • You want your surviving partner to be able to continue to benefit from your property after your death

Example

Mr and Mrs Bloggs jointly own their family home and want to ensure that their own respective half shares of the property will be passed on to their children in the event of their death, whilst ensuring that after the first death, the surviving partner can remain living in the home as normal until their own death. They are also concerned that one of them may need long term care in the future, and they want to protect at least half of the property value from being used for care home fees.

Mr Bloggs dies first, and has left his 50% share of the property in a Protective Property Trust (with the remainder of his estate left to Mrs Bloggs). The Trust allows Mrs Bloggs to continue living in the property, with the ability to downsize in the future if she wants to do so. If Mrs Bloggs goes into a care home, Mr Bloggs’ share of the property is safe in the trust for the children, and cannot be taken into account in the event of an assessment.

On Mrs Bloggs death, the Property Protective Trust ends, and Mr Bloggs’s half of the property (or the sales proceeds) is transferred to the children, free of any Capital Gains Tax.

Can anyone have a Property Protective Trust?

Any joint owners can put a PPT in place; however, you need to check how you own your property first.

There are two types of ‘joint-ownership’, which are:

  1. Joint Tenants
  2. Tenants in Common

If you are unsure which type of ownership you have, it is likely to be joint tenants, as this is the most common form of co-ownership.

The difference between both types is as follows:

  • Joint Tenants - This means that both owners jointly own the whole property. On the death of one owner, the property passes by survivorship straight to the surviving partner. This means that you cannot gift your ‘share’ of the property in your Will, unless you own the property as Tenants in Common.
  • Tenants in Common - This means that the owners each own a specific share in the property, which means they can leave their share of the property to whoever they want in their Will.

 

What if we own our property as joint tenants?

It is possible to sever your joint tenancy agreement so that you own your property as Tenants in Common. This would then mean that you and your partner will each have specified shares in the property (which can still be 50/50 or whichever shares you agree on), and you can each ring-fence your individual shares in your home to pass over to your chosen beneficiary (or beneficiaries) in your Will.

At Wills.Services, we can help with severing your joint tenancy, or if you are unsure how you own the property, we can help you find out, so contact us today to discuss this. 

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Who owns the property in a trust?

After the death of the first partner, the legal title (title deeds) is transferred to the joint names of the surviving partner and the Trustees (who may also be your executors). The surviving partner can also be a Trustee of the PPT.

What do the Trustees do?

The Trustees control and manage the trust for the beneficiaries’ benefit.

Can the Trustees kick the surviving partner out of the house?

No. The trust would provide a right of occupation for the surviving partner. This means that the trustees cannot force them out of the property.

However, oit is possible to include some conditions within the trust which would bring it to an end, such as upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the surviving partner.

The advantages of a Property Protective Trust

The main advantage is that you can protect a share of the property from being assessed in the future for care home fees for the surviving partner, should they ever need to go to a care home.

Another advantage is that a share of the property can be protected against a change in circumstances, such as the surviving partner remarrying or being declared bankrupt, for example.

The Property Protective Trust can also protect a child from a previous relationship, as you can ensure that regardless of any change of circumstances with the surviving partner, your child (or children) will still be provided for.

Are there any disadvantages of a Protective Property Trust?

Whilst there are many advantages of putting a PPT in place, there are also a few  disadvantages to be aware of, such as the cost and the possibility of the Trust not working as you intend.

The most obvious disadvantage is that it does not come into force until the death of the first partner.

For this reason, it is important to speak to a Trust specialist, who can advise you based on your own personal circumstances. Contact us at Wills.Services to speak to a will trust specialist today.

What about inheritance tax?

There are no adverse inheritance tax implications in setting up a will property trust.

Are there any alternatives to a Protective Property Trust?

There are no direct alternatives, but there are different types of Trusts that you can consider.

One example is a Discretionary Trust, which is designed to protect your property, other assets and investments for the benefit of your beneficiaries.

Is it easier to gift half of the property to our children on the first partner’s death?

This may seem like an easier option, but if your children were to get divorced, become bankrupt, or pass away, a sale of the property could be forced.

You could even simply fall out with your children, who may then request that the property is sold so that they can receive their share of money.

If your children own the half share outright, there can also be tax implications. When the property is sold on the death of the surviving partner, the children could be liable to capital gains tax on their share of the property if it has increased in value and if it is not their main residence (i.e. they do not live there).

If the share of the property is place in a Trust, there is no capital gains liability as the trustees can claim Principal Private Residence Relief, as a result of the surviving partner’s right to continue living in the property.

What happens if the surviving partner wants to move house?

The surviving partner can move house if they wish to do so. The property can be sold and an alternative property purchased, under the same terms of the trust.

Any excess profit (if the new home costs less than the original property) would need to be shared between the survivor, and the trustees (for the beneficiaries).

What if I’ve changed my mind about the Trust?

As the Trust only takes effect on the death of the first spouse/partner, all you would need to do is make a new Will(s) before this time.

How much does a Protective Property Trust cost and how can I set up a Trust in a Will in the UK?

Whilst this does cost more than simply making a standard Will, our prices are very competitive at Wills.Services. It is very important that your Trust Will is drafted correctly, so it is advisable to seek professional legal advice.

Contact us at Wills.Services today, and our team will be more than happy to advise you on the cost of setting up a Property Trust. We can discuss your circumstances with you and provide specialist Will Trusts advice based on your circumstances.

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