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Trusts & Estates

Trusts are an important tool to help protect your estate from unnecessary inheritance tax when you pass away. They are also an incredibly useful tool in enabling you to manage difficult issues, such as protecting your family and passing on your business or assets to the next generation.

We can advise on new trust creation and also assist with all aspects of existing trust arrangements.

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  • Jill Walker
    Meet the team

    The team

  • Trustees. Executors. Beneficiaries. High net worth individuals. International private clients.

    Who we can help

  • Personal Tax. Tax Compliance. Tax Planning. Charitable Giving. Tax Residence and Domicile. Property Tax. Scottish Taxpayers. Partnerships. International Private Client Tax. 

    How we can help


Trusts have long been a key part of estate planning and are often an integral part of a family’s overall tax planning strategy. In the right circumstances, trusts can be a secure, flexible and potentially tax efficient way of allowing assets to be passed down through the generations. Trusts can also be beneficial for those with complex family arrangements.

We operate a large trust team across the UK and Ireland, with a core team of 14 experts (in UK and offshore trusts) and a wider team of 12 others who also have trust experience. We can guarantee that you’ll benefit from extensive specialist expertise and valuable experience in this complex area. Our team members hold a wide range of qualifications, including the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Many people have a view of what they want to happen with their assets or their business in the future. However, life has a habit of throwing up the unexpected to disrupt your plans. Using trusts can give you the flexibility and control to cope with changing circumstances.


A trust is established by the settlor, who places the assets into trust. The trustees become the legal owners of the assets and use their powers to decide on how the assets will be dealt with, providing both flexibility and control over the trust period (which can be up to 125 years). The beneficiaries are chosen by the settlor and will usually be family members: children, grandchildren, their spouses and other close family members, but also may include other individuals or charities.

A trust is an excellent way of managing and protecting assets. There are different types of trusts, each with their own set of tax rules and rates. Trusts can be used for various reasons, including:

  • To control and protect family assets
  • When someone is too young to handle their affairs
  • When someone cannot handle their affairs because they’re incapacitated or there is a risk of outside influence.
  • To pass on assets during your lifetime (an ‘inter vivos trust’)
  • To pass on assets when you die (a ‘will trust’)


If your estate is worth more than the current IHT nil rate band of £325,000 (£650,000 for married couples) then it makes sense to explore whether you could benefit from using trusts to mitigate your exposure to this tax.

We advise a broad range of clients on setting up different types of trusts, linking this in with wider tax and business succession planning if appropriate.

Trusts allow you to protect your surviving spouse or other beneficiaries from the problems, pressures and unwanted attention often associated with inheritance. For example, if you feel that your children wouldn’t be ready to inherit at 18, but might be better waiting till they are older, or you would feel more comfortable with your assets being managed and controlled centrally, you can build this into your trust requirements.

Trusts are flexible; you can use trusts to stipulate the age at which beneficiaries inherit as well as give them the right to income on an arising or discretionary basis. Property, cash or investments can be placed into trust – it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

The timescales for setting up trusts are also flexible; they can be set up during your lifetime or in your will, whatever works best for you and your individual needs.


Although trusts are not as tax efficient as they once were, they continue to play an important role in family asset protection and estate planning.

Our trust team specialises in providing bespoke advice on the use of trust structures to safeguard wealth, ensuring your longer term estate planning objectives are met and any tax advantages that are available are secured.

Working closely with your legal and financial advisors we can:

  • Advise on the suitability and structure to best suit your needs
  • Consider the impact of all relevant taxes including inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax
  • Ensure cohesion between the trust advice and the wider succession planning for your family and business interests
  • Deal with all associated tax compliance from notifying HMRC via the Trust Registration Service (TRS) to preparing the annual trust tax returns
  • Keep your trust arrangements under review to give you the peace of mind that your family wishes are preserved for future generations
  • Act as a professional trustee where appropriate


In addition to advising on the setting up of trusts, our experienced team can also manage and deal with a wide range of trust administration matters for both UK and non UK trusts, to include:

  • Trust Registration Service
  • Annual accounts
  • Tax returns
  • Inheritance tax returns
  • Capital gains tax on property returns (due within 60 days)
  • Bookkeeping
  • Year-end distribution planning
  • Year-end capital gains tax planning
  • Trustee meetings and minutes
  • Opening bank accounts, writing and banking cheques
  • Liaising with HMRC
  • Liaising with solicitors and investment advisors
  • Winding up the trust


Being appointed as an executor for someone’s estate brings a number of responsibilities, one of these being to deal with any income tax and capital gains tax reporting for the period of administration (the period between date of death to the formal end date).

In certain circumstances, the executors do not need to report the estate to HMRC for income tax purposes, however with interest rates rising, more and more estates are being required to report to HMRC.

Whether this is done formally via an estate tax return, or informally via a single report for the entire period, depends on if the estate is classed as simple or complex. HMRC class an estate as simple if all of the following apply:

  • the estate was valued at less than £2.5 million when the person died
  • the total income tax and capital gains tax due is less than £10,000
  • you did not sell more than £500,000 worth of assets in any single tax year during the administration period


In addition to income tax and capital gains tax reporting, some of the other responsibilities of an executor during the administration period include:

  • Gathering together details of all assets held as at the date of death and obtaining valuations of these
  • Ascertaining whether there is any Inheritance Tax liability
  • Reporting the estate value and submitting Inheritance Tax returns to HM Revenue and Customs as appropriate
  • Once probate/confirmation has been granted, gathering in the assets
  • Paying any debts left by the person who died
  • Selling assets such as properties or shares if appropriate
  • Ensuring that assets are distributed according to the will or the rules of intestacy if there is no will
  • Preparing estate accounts to document the above


Our experienced team can manage and deal with a wide range of estate administration matters to include:

  • Administration period accounts
  • Tax returns
  • Informal disclosures
  • Inheritance tax returns
  • Bookkeeping
  • Assist with gathering in estate assets where relevant
  • Opening bank accounts, writing and banking cheques
  • Liaising with HMRC
  • Liaising with solicitors and investment advisors
  • Distributing the estate in accordance with the individual’s Will or the intestacy rules


Our award-winning team deal with over 700 trust clients with combined assets of over £1 billion. We work closely with trustees, their legal and investment advisors, and in some cases, we run the day-to-day administration of the trust. Our trust services are bespoke to each client’s requirements.

The planning, implementation and administration process can be complex, and we can assist with addressing clients’ personal and family needs whilst seeking to maximise the planning opportunities.

Our team can handle all compliance requirements, potential complexities and administration, leaving you to focus on what’s important to you and your family.

  • AAB's private client tax team deliver clear advice in understandable terms so we can appreciate how effective planning can lead to benefits for the whole family. They have taken away the worry and doubt for us.

    Alex Wiseman

  • "I have been very much looked after by the Private Client team for a number of years now. Managed by experienced individuals, they are able to provide that sometimes elusive, bespoke, one to one professional advice.

    Joanna Robertson

  • I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending AAB to anyone else who, like us, may be struggling to get the expert advice required, especially when it involves coming back to the UK and managing tax aspects on overseas income and assets.

    John Bannerman

  • The efforts of the team ensured that timely planning could be undertaken to the overall benefit of my family. AAB clearly demonstrated their expertise here and proved why it is always worth getting the best professionals on the job!

    Keith Fletcher

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