A Trust is a legal relationship where property is held by one party for the benefit of another. The ‘settlor’ transfers some or all of their assets to a ‘trustee’, the trustee then holds that property for the Trust’s beneficiaries.
A Trust separates the property’s legal ownership and control from its equitable ownership (the right to use the property or receive any income it produces) which may be done for tax reasons or to control the property and its benefits if the settlor is absent, incapacitated or deceased. Trusts are often created as part of a Will to define how property will be handled for children and other beneficiaries.
The trustee is given legal title to the property but is obligated to act in accordance with the terms of the Trust, which usually means in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Trustees can be an individual or a Trust company. There can be a single trustee or up to four trustees for an estate.
Yes, this is possible. If the property is jointly owned by you and your spouse, it is essential that the property is held as tenants in common rather than joint tenants. It is possible that if you leave your spouse a life interest in your half of the property and your spouse subsequently goes into a care home that only half the value of the house would be taken into consideration by the local authority when carrying out an assessment. It is essential that the life interest trust is properly worded in the will and you should ensure, for it to be done properly, that you consult a specialist solicitor.