I don't want to be a trustee of mother's will
Don't want will work
Q. I am a trustee, together with my brother, of my mother's will. I am seriously considering relinquishing this task, mainly because of a clash of personalities. I know it will cause ill feeling, but what are the legal implications if I do this? Do I forgo any inheritance due to me, for instance?
A. There's no penalty for turning down the job, but you should make your mind up quickly since once you have started acting you will be expected to continue. Your decision will not affect any entitlement you have under the will unless the will says so. However since your mother evidently expected you and your brother to carry out this task together you may want to consider handing the work over to a solicitor so that your involvement is restricted to signing forms. Many executors and trustees do this anyway. Your expenses should be met from the estate.
Later rather than sooner
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Q. My husband and I own our house. We would like to give it to our son, but live in it rent free until we die. Would this be possible, and would we incur any tax in doing so?
A. If your son already has a house of his own this is not a good idea, since when the time came to sell yours he would have to pay capital gains tax on the increase in its value since it was transferred to him. What's more, if he was to marry, divorce or become bankrupt you could lose the roof over your heads. There will be no capital gains tax to pay on the property if you just leave the house to your son in your wills, and you won't save on inheritance tax under this arrangement. If your son lives with you on a permanent basis things are slightly different, but I recommend you talk it through with a solicitor.
Q. Some years ago we divided the ownership of our property and set up a discretionary trust with a view to saving on inheritance tax and also avoiding care home fees. What would happen in this situation if the surviving spouse wished to sell the property and buy another, perhaps smaller, house? Would the survivor have only half the value of the property available to purchase alternative accommodation?
A. No. Following the sale of the original property, the debt due to the trust would be paid off out of the proceeds of sale. But there would be nothing to stop the trust re-lending trust money to the surviving spouse to help towards the cost of the replacement property.
Tracey Wright is a partner and head of the Wills, Trusts & Probate team at Nash & Co Solicitors LLP, Beaumont House, Beaumont Park, Plymouth. Tel 01752 664444 or email email@example.com Website: www.nash.co.uk
If you have a legal problem, write to You and the Law, Room 101, Western Morning News, Brest Road, Derriford Business Park, Plymouth, Devon PL6 5AA, or leave your query on our Legal Adviceline 0117 964 4794.