Elizabeth Armstrong, managing director of Latimer Hinks Solicitors

Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington is urging parents to consider setting up trusts to provide their children with financial help in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent report by Saga’s equity release service found that 21 per cent of over 50s with children over the age of 18 have increased the level of financial support they give since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Elizabeth Armstrong, managing director of Latimer Hinks Solicitors and qualified STEP practitioner, said: “Since the beginning of the global pandemic, the financial situation for people across the UK has become increasingly turbulent. Understandably this has led to more family members helping each other out but many may not be aware that the process could have added benefits if families took time to invest in trusts.

“Although once considered a tool for wealthy individuals and families, trusts are incredibly useful in enabling families to support one another in making significant financial commitments like going to university or getting onto the property ladder.  In addition, trust are also excellent vehicles when it comes to protecting family assets and wealth and potentially reducing concerns older generations may have with inheritance tax.”

Elizabeth’s comments come after a new report on the social and economic benefits of trusts, by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), the association for trained specialists in inheritance planning and drafting wills and trusts.

The report emphasises that trusts are no longer just for the wealthy and are increasingly used by parents and grandparents who can fund trusts to help their children pay for university, buy a home or build a business.

Elizabeth continued, “Trusts are a great way for people from any background to protect family assets and handle finances for the future. They can have many long-lasting benefits for future family generations, if set up in the correct way.  Due to the necessary legal and practical requirements, creating trusts can be a complicated process, so seeking the help of a solicitor appropriately qualified and experienced in their mechanics should be the first step when drawing up a trust. At Latimer Hinks, we have 10 fully accredited STEP members, one of the largest contingents of full STEP members in North Yorkshire and the North East, and through our decades of experience we can provide advice to help set up and run a trust to ensure they are appropriate to your needs, that they avoid costly mistakes in the future and that they ultimately operate in line with your requirements.”

Trusts have been used by families to look after assets for centuries and have become an integral part of the UK’s legal system. There are usually three parties involved in setting up a trust, the settlor who owns the asset to be placed in trust at the outset, the beneficiaries who benefit from the assets held in the trust and the trustees who manage and oversee the administration of the trust’s assets.