How do I set up a bare trust? It does what it says on the tin


Date: 20 June 2016

How do I set up a bare trust? It does what it says on the tin{{}}First things first, a bare trust has nothing to do with bears. That was my first thought when I was Googling bare trusts after I discovered I, as executor, needed to set one up to fulfil the wishes set out in my Dad's will. How do you even spell 'bare trust'? (I guess I could have checked the will!)

If you are in the position of having to set up a trust, it's easy to imagine weighty rolls of parchment and a hoary old solicitor sitting at a desk, quill in hand. In fact, as I discovered, setting up a bare trust is almost ridiculously simple. So simple, in fact, that after a brief consultation with a solicitor, I was told that they very rarely do them any more - she was surprised to even be asked about it.

In reality bare trusts really are, well… bare. There is very little to them - technically you don't even need anything written on paper, although it is advisable to make a dated note of any actions you take in your role of executor. In my Dad's will, he stated that he wanted to leave set sums of money to each of his grandchildren, to be kept in a bare trust until they reached the age of 18.

What this meant I had to do, once probate was granted and all the assets had been gathered together, was open a bank account (in the grandchild's name) for the trust and deposit the stated amount, to be left there until the child reaches the age of 18 at which point they are free to inherit. I could write a document saying that was what I had done and date and sign it, but that's not essential.

In this situation the two most important documents are the deceased's will and the grant of probate. The will states that the trusts are to be set up, the amount to be placed in trust and the name, date of birth and address of the beneficiary and the grant of probate places the legal responsibility to enact the will on the executor.

In my situation the bare trusts I was setting up were for the benefit of my children and therefore both myself and the other executor of the will know about them. If you were setting up a trust for someone unrelated to you it would, of course, be advisable to write a letter to the parents/guardians of the child with details of the trust, together with a copy of the will and the grant of probate. But, as I discovered, far from being a complicated and costly legal process, setting up the bare trust was one of the most straightforward tasks I had to do as an executor.

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