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Types of Trusts: Choosing the Right One for Your Needs

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Jack Ross Can Help You Decide On What Type Of Trust You Need

Introduction: The Importance of the Right Type of Trust

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Trusts are legal arrangements that allow a third party, known as a trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. The type of trust you choose can have significant implications for estate planning, tax obligations, and asset protection. In this article, we will explore the different types of trusts available and how to determine which type of trust is right for your specific needs.

Common Types of Trusts: A Brief Overview

When you set up a trust, you have various options to consider. Here are some common types of trusts:

Revocable Trust

Also known as a living trust, a revocable trust can be altered or cancelled by the settlor (the person who creates the trust) at any time. This type of trust is beneficial for those who want control over the assets within the trust even after it has been set up.

Irrevocable Trust

Unlike revocable trusts, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed or terminated without the beneficiary’s consent. This type of trust is usually used to pass assets on to heirs while avoiding or reducing estate taxes.

Discretionary Trust

In a discretionary trust, the trustee has the authority to decide how the income from the trust is distributed among beneficiaries. This type of trust is often used to protect assets and provide for beneficiaries in a flexible manner.

Bare Trust

Assets in a bare trust are held in the trustee’s name, but the beneficiary has the absolute right to the capital and assets within the trust. Bare trusts are often used to transfer assets to minors.

Accumulation Trust

In this type of trust, the trustee can accumulate income within the trust and add it to the trust’s capital. This offers a way to grow the trust assets over time.

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Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Type of Trust

Determining the right type of trust for your needs requires careful consideration of various factors:

  1. Objective for the Trust: Are you looking to minimise estate taxes, protect assets, or provide for a special needs family member? Each type of trust serves different objectives.

  2. Beneficiaries: Who will benefit from the trust? The needs of your beneficiaries can significantly impact which type of trust you should choose.

  3. Control Over Assets: Some trusts allow you to have control over the assets even after the trust is created, while others do not.

  4. Tax Implications: Different trusts have various tax consequences, such as inheritance tax and estate taxes, which should be considered carefully.

Deep Dive into Specialised Types of Trusts

In the first part of this article, we covered some common types of trusts, from revocable and irrevocable trusts to discretionary and bare trusts. Now let us explore some specialised types of trusts to consider for more specific objectives.

Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is designed to provide financial support to a person with disabilities without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. This type of trust can accomplish the goal of caring for a loved one with special needs.

Charitable Trust

As the name suggests, a charitable trust is set up to benefit a charitable organisation. There are two types of charitable trusts: charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts. This type of trust can provide tax benefits while fulfilling philanthropic goals.

Testamentary Trust

A testamentary trust is a type of trust created through a will and only comes into effect after the settlor’s death. This trust usually serves to protect the interests of minor children or other beneficiaries who might not be financially savvy.

Interest in Possession Trust

In an interest in possession trust, the beneficiary has the right to income generated from the trust assets as soon as it is produced. This type of trust is often used in estate plans to provide for a spouse or civil partner.

Insurance Trust

An insurance trust holds a life insurance policy and pays out the benefits upon the death of the insured. This type of trust can protect your assets from creditors and provide for your beneficiaries in a tax-efficient manner.

Trust Structures: Meeting Specific Objectives

Choosing the right type of trust can be complex, especially given the many types of trusts available. Here are some pointers to help you make the right choice:

  1. Complex Family Structures: If you have a blended family, you might consider a mixed trust that combines features of different types of trusts.

  2. Business Owners: Settlor-interested trusts can be beneficial for business owners who want to retain some control over the trust and the income generated.

  3. Tax Planning: Irrevocable trusts are often used for tax planning purposes, as they can remove assets from your estate and potentially lower estate taxes.

  4. Asset Protection: Trusts like the discretionary trust can protect assets from creditors, making them a good option for those concerned about liability.

Legal Requirements and Managing Your Trust

After exploring common and specialised types of trusts, let us focus on the legal aspects and management considerations for setting up and running your trust.

Legal Requirements for Creating a Trust

  1. Settlor: The person who sets up the trust must have the legal capacity to do so.

  2. Trustee: A person or organisation must be designated to manage the trust assets. They must run the trust in the best interest of the beneficiaries.

  3. Beneficiary: At least one beneficiary must be named in the trust deed, except for charitable trusts which can benefit a class of people.

  4. Trust Deed: This legal document outlines the terms of the trust, including the powers and responsibilities of the trustee.

  5. Trust Assets: The trust must hold some assets, even if it is a nominal amount to start.

Managing Your Trust: Key Responsibilities

  1. Ongoing Management: The trustee must manage the trust assets according to the trust deed and relevant laws.

  2. Trust Income and Distributions: Depending on the type of trust, income may need to be distributed to beneficiaries or reinvested within the trust.

  3. Legal Compliance: The trustee must ensure the trust complies with tax laws and other regulations, which may include filing annual tax returns for the trust.

  4. Communication: The trustee should keep beneficiaries informed about the trust’s performance and any changes to the trust structure.

What to Look for in a Trustee

  1. Expertise: Choose someone who understands financial management and legal requirements. Jack Ross can help. Use the contact form on the right and a member of our dedicated team will be in touch. 

  2. Reliability: A trustworthy and reliable individual or organisation is crucial.

  3. Alignment with Objectives: Ensure the trustee is aligned with the objectives for the trust and the needs of the beneficiaries.

Conclusion: Making the Final Decision

Choosing the right type of trust for your needs is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires a thorough understanding of the various types of trusts available, the objectives you wish to achieve, and the needs of your beneficiaries. 

Remember, setting up the right type of trust can help you achieve a range of financial goals, from asset protection and tax planning to providing for loved ones. Therefore, it is crucial to seek professional advice to ensure that you’re making the best choice for your circumstances.

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There are many different types of trust, including beneficiary trusts, discretionary trusts, bare trusts, accumulation trusts, mixed trusts, settlor-interested trusts, charitable trusts and interest in possession trusts.

A trust fund is an arrangement that holds assets on behalf of a person or group of people. A trust fund can be set up under a will as part of an estate plan. It can also be set up by a living individual who wishes to create a trust for the benefit of another party.

The main types of trust include revocable and irrevocable trusts. Revocable trusts can be modified or revoked during their creator’s lifetime while irrevocable trusts cannot be changed once they have been established.

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