If you’re concerned about the future of your estate, a trust is a practical method of securing your assets after death and protecting the financial interests of your loved ones. As a form of will, a trust is drafted to ensure that your funds and assets end up in preferred hands — giving you peace of mind for the years to come. As the highest value asset for a majority of people, it’s likely that the future of your property — particularly if it’s a family home — will be a key consideration.
There are many different forms of this type of trust. However, if safeguarding your family home for your surviving spouse and dependents is important, a Property Protection Trust (PPT) could be the perfect solution. If you’re wondering what a PPT is, why it would be needed, and how easily it can be set up, the following blog will help you to determine if it’s a viable option for you and your circumstances.
What is a Protected Property Trust?
A Protected Property Trust is a form of last will and testament used by property co-owners — often a husband and wife or cohabitees. It ensures that, in the event of one of the partners passing away, the survivor can continue to live in the previously shared home. If anything happens to the remaining partner, the deceased’s share is secured by the PPT.
Although widely known as a Property Protection Trust, there are numerous different names for this type of agreement. The most commonly used terms include the acronym PPT, Protective Property Trust, or Family Protection Trust. However, despite the variation in terminology, the fundamental purpose of any PPT remains the same.
Ultimately, perhaps the main reason to use Protective Property Trusts is is that the first deceased’s share in the property is secured in the will, so is not at risk of being gradually used up in the paying of the surviving co-owner’s care home fees etc.
In this respect, a Protective Property Trust offers peace of mind for both the property owners themselves and the future beneficiaries of their home (often, but not necessarily, children or dependents).
What are the Benefits of Putting Property in a Trust?
Possibly the biggest benefit of a Property Protection Trust is that it allows the surviving partner to remain living in the family home, even after the first co-owner’s passing. They also remain in the home and protected against potential threats, even if the eventual beneficiaries (often the children) divorce or are forced to declare bankruptcy.
If you don’t have a large volume of assets and are concerned that your domestic partner could end up tied into the long-term care of the surviving partner, a Property Protection Trust is an excellent proposition. A PPT is also extremely useful for couples who have children from a previous relationship, as it can be used to ring fence a set share of their inheritance for those children once the time is right.
This would not automatically be the case with a traditional mirror will, as the surviving partner could amend, or even revoke, the will at any point. With a PPT, the intentions of the deceased would need to be honoured and no revisions could be made without their say so.
How Does a Property Trust Work?
A Protective Property Trust is a useful alternative to leaving your biggest asset/s to your partner upon your death. A PPT allows the surviving co-owner to benefit from the deceased’s share of the family home without technically owning said share (which will be left instead to designated beneficiaries via the trust upon the death of the second partner).
Therefore, the main purpose of a Protective Property Trust is to secure a deceased partner’s share in a co-owned property. Let’s build upon our understanding by taking a look at a hypothetical example of PPT in action:
- Mr and Mrs Jones jointly own their home
- Mr Jones dies first, leaving his share of the house in the PPT and the remainder to Mrs Jones
- Mrs Jones continues to live in the family home
- Mrs Jones develops a long-term health condition and has to move into a care home
- Despite substantial care home fees, Mr Jones’ half-share of the family home is secured in the PPT
- On Mrs Jones’ passing, the funds in the PPT are transferred to the named beneficiaries, in line with Mr Jones’ wishes
- The transferred money is free of any Capital Gains Tax
It’s important to note that making the avoidance of care home fees the sole reason for setting up the trust could be viewed as deprivation of assets. However, the earlier you set up a PPT, the clearer it will be that reducing care home fees was not the primary reason for setting up the will — even if it is a factor. In short, it’s wise to draw up this type of trust long before the prospect of care fees becomes a realistic factor in your decision making.
Moving House After Setting up a Property Protection Trust
If a surviving co-owner wants to move house after the deceased has passed on, a Family Protection Trust will not be a hindrance to this. Using the assumption that they’re downsizing from a £300,000 property to a £150,000 property in our hypothetical scenario, they would have the following options:
- Use the trust to buy the property, retaining the £150,000 co-share as an investment. When the new property is eventually sold (upon the second partner’s passing), the proceeds will be distributed in accordance with the Protective Property Trust
- Use their £150,000 share of the original property to buy the new house and leave the trust untouched
- Combine a mixture of the two, with the trust and surviving co-owner being part-investors in the new property and any funds tied up in the new home being distributed when the second partner passes.
It’s clear that there are a few options regarding moving house when a PPT is in place. However, the vast majority of surviving co-owners choose not to move on in later life, so this hypothetical scenario is often moot.
How Just Wills and Legal Services can Help with Property Protection Trusts
Thinking about the future of your estate is often seen as a daunting prospect, something that many couples might choose to put off until a rainy day. However, in the case of wills and trusts, it’s important to think about the future sooner rather than later. Depending on your needs, you could find value in the likes of family trusts and asset protection. In the case of Property Protection Trusts, bringing forward your plans for the future could provide peace of mind for you and your family for whatever challenges lie ahead.
Just Wills and Legal Services understand that Property Protection Trusts might appear from the outside to be a complicated, difficult, subject to broach. That’s why we aim to always put your interests first — we will work with you to clearly explain your options and take the time to ensure that we do right by both you and your beneficiaries. Any agreement made must be exactly the right choice for you.It’s important for us to show that you’re not alone in your decision and we’ll be ready to offer guidance every step of the way. For more information about Protective Property Trusts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today.