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A Trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one party (known as a Settlor), gives another party (the Trustee), the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party (the Beneficiary).
A trust company does not beneficially own the assets its customers assign to its management, but rather assumes a legal obligation to take care of these assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Some of the advantages of using a corporate rather than individual trustee are:
(i) Executorship business is highly technical and requires considerable experience and expertise. A Trust Company specializes in this field, whereas most individuals do not possess this background and knowledge, unless they have specifically studied it;
(ii) Unlike individual Trustees who when they resign or die, leave with their knowledge, there is perpetual institutional knowledge, experience and succession with a corporate trust body;
(iii) An individual may be partial, so may not treat with your affairs in the specific manner you intended; but to maintain its transparency and reputation, a Trust Company will always perform its duties to the letter of the law, and without bias and sentiment.
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RBC Trust (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited’s personal trust services include the preparation, trusteeship and executorship of Wills:
Preparation of wills:
Your will is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. It is a written direction controlling the disposition of your property and assets after you are gone and therefore only becomes effective on your death.
A Will may be revoked or changed at any time, and any amount of times, before death. Our professional Trust officers can help you in the preparation and modification of your Will and are available for consultation upon appointment.
RBC Trust (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited, as the appointed Executor and Trustee of your Will, will remove the burden of probate and estate administration from your loved ones. In this role we will:
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While it is an honour to be named as executor of someone’s estate, the complex duties and time involved in properly fulfilling this role, may prove to be more demanding than you anticipated. You can now however delegate these complicated details of estate administration to the experts at RBC Trust (Trinidad & Tobago) Limited, who can act as agent for you – the executor named on the Will. We will perform all the tasks of administration of the estate, while providing you, the personal executor, with the professional assistance and guidance you need to correctly perform your duties.
Our agency service is available to executors who reside abroad, who can not by law handle the estate or who do not have the time and resources to administer the estate. As executors are entitled to hire outside help in fulfilling their responsibilities, our fees as agent are paid by the estate and not by the executor personally.
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A trust fund can be used if a beneficiary is under-aged, has a mental disability that impairs that person's capacity to maintain his or her own finances, or the Settlor of the trust simply wishes the beneficiary to only inherit the fund's assets at a particular time.
Will Trusts (testamentary trusts)
In this role we act as Trustee of the remainder of the deceased assets i.e. those assets which - either on the written instructions of the deceased, or according to law - should or can not be distributed directly after the client's death. These include gifts to a minor, to a person appropriately deemed to be of unsound mind and body or where the deceased specified that the gift ought not to vest until the occurrence of a certain event, such as the attainment of a stipulated age, or the death of a life tenant.
Settlements (Living or Inter-Vivos trusts):
These are trusts which vest all the client's assets in the Trustee's name, to be distributed after the client's death in accordance with instructions in a Memorandum of Wishes. The client is at liberty during his lifetime to vary the conditions of distribution and the named beneficiaries in the Memorandum of Wishes, similar to a Will client.
The main difference between the two structures is that the Settlor's assets vest automatically and during his lifetime in the Trustee. As a result, neither these assets nor any income derived from them, can ever revert directly to the Settlor once the Settlement documents are executed.
With a Will, even after the instrument is signed, it is only the assets owned by the client at the date of his death which form part of his Estate and which therefore vest in the Trustee. A Will client is therefore free to deal with his assets even after listing them in his Will, right until the time of death.
Settlements can be used to conceal a client's ownership of assets during his lifetime and provide an alternative to having a Will:
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Power of Attorney:
This gives a trustee responsibility to conduct all your financial affairs on your behalf, during your lifetime e.g. receiving income earned on your investments, holding or investing same, paying expenses (cable, TV, electricity, water, nurses, doctor, live in caretakers etc) from your assets or proceeds of assets held in our name. It would also set out the parameters of your assets over which we have authority to invest/sell on your behalf, such as whether we can appoint a receiver of mortgaged premises, vote at meetings of shareholders on your behalf etc.
This product is used where the client is aged, not very mobile, or leads a lifestyle where they are not usually in the country and cannot therefore tend to their day to day affairs.
It is however a vehicle which only allows us to hold and manage funds during your lifetime. As such, some testamentary system must also be set up collateral to this one i.e. either a Settlement or a Will, to deal with the distribution of these very assets and their income upon your demise.