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I'm a beneficiary of a trust fund, but it's just causing stress ...

(48 Posts)
lovesT Fri 11-Oct-19 13:24:00

Can anyone advise?/ Does anyone have any knowledge on this?

Within the last couple of years my sister and I were told about a trust fund set up by our Grandmother who has made this trust for her grandchildren and for the money to go towards a deposit for a house. This is great obviously and we are grateful for this! 

However …

Though this is amazing of her to do, she is incredibly controlling. She has always tried to dictate what we do with our lives (jobs, university, who we should trust …). I am 25 and married for a 4 years with first baby on the way and very happy in my job which I’m studying alongside to eventually progress in that career (not that she approves of what I’ve chosen to do! My sister is also happy with what she is doing and is also studying towards what she wants to do (she is younger and still lives at home), of course her way of studying is not approved either and she is often nagged about this.

There is a lot more background I could give but here is the main part:

‘The grandmother’ has been obsessed for the last few months with this trust money (which she had to legally tell us about, otherwise she wouldn’t have told us). She keeps saying she wants us to sign something to say we are happy not to have the interest of this fund until we one day get the money, which we agreed to but haven’t signed anything yet. It would be nice to have the money but she doesn’t trust us, even though we would only put it into a savings account, so we are happy to agree to this.

She called us to say she wants us to sign the papers, which we thought was to agree to not having the interest from the trust fund until we got the full amount one day, HOWEVER, when she brought the papers they said something like ‘Though they are entitled to the money at 18, I (Grandmother) would prefer that they get the full amount at the age of 45’. Obviously it had more than this but this was the gist.

We have consistently been told (since she had to tell us about the money) that we can have the money towards a deposit for a house only from 25 and if we are losers or idiots (her own words) we won’t get it until 45. By the way, we are neither of these and both work very hard, she just doesn’t approve of our career choices because we’re not doctors or bankers.

We refused to sign these because they did not say what she had been telling us and we basically would be saying we are happy not to have it until 45 (which by then, hopefully we would have bought a house ourselves with money we have saved). She partly agreed (some lawyer had written it up and she has now asked them to change it).

One of my many questions is, does anyone know about this legally? We have narrowed it down to being possibly two different trust funds, either a ‘Bare fund’ or a ‘Discretionary fund’. If it is a bare fund, then she is panicking because we are legally entitled to it and she doesn’t want us to have it, because she wouldn’t be able to control the money/ us.

Hypothetically, if my husband and I wanted to buy a house, we would look at our income, find a house we wanted, go to the bank for a mortgage and ask her for the money for a deposit. BUT I 100% know that she will not approve because she said she and the other trustees will have to see our incomes (not that they’re bad, but she will think they are). So I’m trying to protect myself a bit here. It would be great to be able to live my life in a way I want to, and be able to use this money when I see it as viable and suitable, maybe in the next couple of years?

IF anyone has managed/ bothered to read this, then I am grateful. I don’t know how else to narrow it down. But if you can help, then ask as many questions as you like and I’ll try and reply smile Thanks.

P.S. I have generally had a good relationship with her, but she has made this very difficult lately. It’s all about the money for her. I am not trying to grab her money and run, I just want to make sure she is not trying to get us to sign something that we don’t have to.



Thanks again smile

Alarae Fri 11-Oct-19 13:34:13

Sounds to me like it was converted to an 18 - 25 trust from an old style accumulation and maintenance trust and the trustees are now obliged to pay the capital to you once you reach the age of 25.

Alternatively, it could be a discretionary trust which allows for capital to be paid to you at any point but you are entitled to the income from 25 (interest).

Obviously without the trust deed I couldn't definitively say either way, but I would hedge my bets on the first scenario, or something that mandates trust capital to be paid to you at 25.

I wouldn't sign anything. Ask to see the trust deed and that you want to get legal advice so you can fully understand what she is asking you. Frame it so that you aren't doing this to challenge her, but more to get a better awareness of your position.

lovesT Fri 11-Oct-19 17:06:09

@Alarae thanks for your reply.

We have received some of the interest already within the last year and a half ish so we were apparently entitled to that after 18 which is why she had to let us know about it. My sister has been wondering if it is a different kind of trust but she is treating it as if it were discretionary.

My feeling at the moment is I should ask her more about it (whether she'll tell anything I don't know) but I feel like it's too much to sign away if we don't actually have to.

If she didn't have such high standards and judgements I wouldn't be so worried! But it feels like she's holding on to control after having to tell us about the fund.

daisychain01 Fri 11-Oct-19 19:54:23

Just a thought... why do you need to live your lives at your DGM's behest? Make whatever financial decisions you need to make independent of this Trust Fund, so she isn't holding you to ransom over it.

If you don't receive the bulk of the money until you're 45yo, why does that matter in real terms? . Your DGM set up the Trust fund voluntarily, it wasn't a legal requirement, so whatever you get at whatever stage in your life, it's all just 'spenders'.

lovesT Fri 11-Oct-19 20:48:39

@daisychain01 that's a fair question, and honestly it's getting to the point where I would be tempted to say "we are grateful, but also want to make our own decisions so thank you but we'll manage without it!" ... or something like that. I have recently told her how I feel about her judgements but she's so old fashioned and just won't listen or acknowledge anything.

It's also quite a big amount that would help us hugely when coming to buy a house. But I have thought that whilst this money would be a huge help for us, I am willing to let it go if it gets too much and we would just have to get on the property ladder as everyone else would.

It's this horrible tension between her being generous in her own way and also just not wanting to be under her grip forever!

But as I say, it would be a big amount for us to let go of, so I want to make sure we do the right thing.

lovesT Fri 11-Oct-19 20:49:16

@daisychain01 that's a fair question, and honestly it's getting to the point where I would be tempted to say "we are grateful, but also want to make our own decisions so thank you but we'll manage without it!" ... or something like that. I have recently told her how I feel about her judgements but she's so old fashioned and just won't listen or acknowledge anything.

It's also quite a big amount that would help us hugely when coming to buy a house. But I have thought that whilst this money would be a huge help for us, I am willing to let it go if it gets too much and we would just have to get on the property ladder as everyone else would.

It's this horrible tension between her being generous in her own way and also just not wanting to be under her grip forever!

But as I say, it would be a big amount for us to let go of, so I want to make sure we do the right thing.

DeeCeeCherry Fri 11-Oct-19 20:57:16

Honestly? I wouldn't bother my head about it. It's not your money. When she passes away it will sort out, or not. It's easy enough to say you don't fancy signing anything, 'just enjoy your money Gran', and leave it at that.

Where are her children anyway? Sounds as if she's trying to disinherit them and thinks money somehow makes her Supreme Ruler. Or maybe theyre NC, who knows? I wouldn't get into it. It's not money you've seen anyway, better to just get on with life otherwise you're drawn into the game of a person having money making them believe they've the right to turn into a dictator. Life's too short for all that fuss.

AudacityOfHope Fri 11-Oct-19 21:00:57

If it were me I'd live my life and pay off a huge whack of my mortgage at 45.

picklemepopcorn Fri 11-Oct-19 21:26:18

I would think you could say 'We would like a copy of the deed so We make an informed decision about the new arrangements. I'm sure you'd agree it's the only responsible thing to do. We know how important it is to you that we are responsible.'

Elieza Fri 11-Oct-19 21:45:44

Do your thing. Say thanks very much. Live like it’s not coming and then when it does it will enable you to pay off your mortgage. Don’t cut your nose off to spite your face and say no. She probably just wants to feel she has a link to you and is making good decisions for your future. The oldest age I’ve heard of a trust being dished out was 30, and I thought that was old! Perhaps she thinks you will split with dp at some point and doesn’t want him getting half the house paid for with her money. Hence she wants to keep it to see if you two will last.

lovesT Fri 11-Oct-19 22:11:11

@picklemepopcorn yeah I think that might be the next thing, it just feels like she's hiding something from us.

@Elieza yeah we are legally entitled to it at some point so it does feel like it's not worth it for all of this. I've been with my husband since we were at school and she knows him well, but she always says she doesn't trust anyone (not even us 🙄) and has told my sister if she's going to marry anyone then she has to do a prenup. However she's being like this with me, my sister and our cousins who aren't married or in relationships so I think it's more about the control rather than my husband etc

BubblesBuddy Fri 11-Oct-19 23:09:37

A pre nup isn’t legally binding years and years into a marriage when financial situations change anyway. It’s guidance and it indicates what the signatories wanted at the time of their marriage. If it went into a house, the house can be apportioned by agreement. This also assumes any DH doesn’t put any money in.

I think you have to see more details of this. 45 is very old! Do you have any other family members who can act as intermediaries?

ClashCityRocker Fri 11-Oct-19 23:20:43

My suspicion would be (although of course impossible to say without seeing the trust deed) that you are entitled to all capital at twenty five, which is why it is being bought up now.... So strictly under the terms of the deed, the money is legally yours.

I would definitely request to see the trust deed.

C0untDucku1a Fri 11-Oct-19 23:36:16

I thought the same as clash. Or there would be no need to change things.

Elieza Fri 11-Oct-19 23:44:49

Would it be possible for the Trust to buy you a house with the money but it belongs to them you just get to live in it? That way you get the benefit of the money and the trust oversees it and if you mess up or get divorced the house remains under the guidance of the trust and neither you nor him can get your hands on it? That could be a solution. Only downside is they may wish to inspect it once a year or something?

daisychain01 Sat 12-Oct-19 04:06:35

It's also quite a big amount that would help us hugely when coming to buy a house.

Yes of course it's a big amount, and that's the point. For whatever reason, and those reasons may be perfectly valid, your DGM wants to keep a tight rein on this money, which is leading to this complexity. It feels like she's dangling a carrot in front of you, you're reacting to seeing a large sum of money just out of your reach, and that's creating the emotional drama that you're feeling.

I'm not suggesting you walk away, just that you need to discount the existence of that money for the foreseeable future. Imagine you never even knew it existed, you'd necessarily have to make your plans independently and cut your cloth accordingly. Maybe doing it that way may indirectly influence your DGM to act differently, because she could see you're not beholden to her.

Trouble is you're feeding into the drama by caring about it!

Chairwithaview Sat 12-Oct-19 04:21:28

I would just forget the trust fund and live your lives as if it wasn’t there!! Tell her you are happy with her decisions with the fund.

It does sound she is trying to use this money to control you. Do you think she is trying to control your choices simply because she is lonely and wants to be involved or is she more of a manipulative nature?

Are her own children around and are also involved in similar trusts?

blackcat86 Sat 12-Oct-19 04:53:23

I would honestly just ignore the whole thing. Politely change the topic when it comes up and dont sign anything that alters the trust. Dont as has been suggested let the trust buy you a house - my parents did this for us and a gilded caged nightmare. The house is bigger than we could afford so the bills are awful and they have total control over everything from pets to decorating, when any work is completed and who by. I would never do it again and because we spend so much maintaining the house is hard to save our own deposit. If you can get the deed to the trust then get your own legal advice. What do your parents say about all this?

Blingysolightly Sat 12-Oct-19 06:01:32

Don't sign anything. It would be nuts to sign anything without seeing the trust deed and understanding what your current obligations and rights are. The tax laws are your friend here.

Ask her for the form R185 (which is a tax form) which you are legally obliged to have. All trusts have to be registered with HMRC and you have tax obligations depending on the type of trust so her not telling is actually risking you falling foul of your tax obligations.

If it's a bare trust then you should be registered with HMRC and be filing a self assessment tax return.

If it's discretionary then the trustee is legally obliged to deduct 45% tax from the income but you can claim some that tax back from HMRC depending on your tax status.

I am sure you actually become entitled to everything at age 25 and that's why she's trying to get you sign something as the money is legs;ly yours.

Having said all this, I always think it is easier to live your life without the prospect of inheritance hanging over your head. Make decisions without being controlled, just don't sign anything because that would be silly.

lovesT Sat 12-Oct-19 08:24:04

@BubblesBuddy yeah I'm not planning on doing a prenup, (obviously it's too late anyway) but it's what she would want for anyone just because as she says, she doesn't trust anyone. She very traditional and loves in a world where everyone started careers and bought houses and stayed in them for life, not reality anymore but she doesn't get that.

@ClashCityRocker that's our suspicion too, something just doesn't feel right, and she's putting a lot of pressure on us, I'm expecting a phone call any day now to arrange a time to sign the papers.

@Elieza No I don't think so, it would still be under her control which is the problem. I'd prefer just to let it go 😊 husband and I are happy where we are now and though we will need to buy/ move in a few years if we can, we would try and do it ourselves without the money, it would just be more difficult.

@daisychain01 I don't think I have fed into the drama by caring, I've explained as much as I can in here but actually it's her chasing us and not the other way around. She rings us and ce to see us the other day and like I said previously she will be ringing anytime soon to make us come and sign the papers "as soon as possible", if it weren't like that I would just leave it but she makes it hard to do that. But I agree with you that I should just go about as if it didn't exist so she doesn't think we are dependant on her or the money.

@Chairwithaview She's definitely manipulative. My mum and her brother are not part of the trust fund, it's just the grandchildren. My mum hasn't always had a good relationship with her and a lot of that is down to how she has been treated and controlled all her life, so she hates seeing it happen to us too. As a grandmother she has always loves the grandchildren and cared for us in her own way but now we're seeing what she did to her own children.

@blackcat86 Oh no! Sounds horrible 🤦‍♀️ if we're going to get a house I want it to be our wherever we want and as big or as small as we think we can manage, and to be able to decorate when we want! Sorry that you're in a position that's difficult. It's just my mum but she is in our side completely because she knows what GM is like and has had it her whole life. She also puts her foot down when the "if you're losers or idiots" sentence comes up, because she knows we're not and doesn't see that as fair.

@Blingysolightly thanks for that info, we have done some research but it's all a bit overwhelming and we've never had to deal with anything like this before. But my mum, husband and sister don't feel comfortable with us signing anything and because of how she is we just feel like there is something she's not telling us, and the way she talks about it just shouts control.

I agree it's better to live your life without it hanging over your head so we're going to try our best to do that but like I said to someone else above, she makes it really difficult as she will keep nagging us to sign these forms and since she had to tell us she hasn't stopped talking about it and bringing it up.

I won't be contacting her for a while about it though, which is a shame because I usually try to ring her to see how she's doing but I know it will become only about the trust.

Thank you everyone for your replies, I hope I'm explaining everything well enough. There is so much history behind this that would impact a lot but it would take a few essays! 😊🙃

lovesT Sat 12-Oct-19 08:28:09

Also she did finally give us the R185 last week but didn't really explain/ know what it was. So we have that, which has the trust info on the front. I'm not sure if with that HMRC can tell us more about it?

coatlessinspokane Sat 12-Oct-19 08:35:50

It would be great to be able to live my life in a way I want to, and be able to use this money when I see it as viable and suitable,

That’s the problem. You can’t do both. As nice as the money is the strings that come with it make it not worth it.

Make a point of telling her grandma that you’re not after her money, that you want to spend time with her and appreciate her as a person without your relationship becoming warped by money.

If you get it at 45 it’ll still be amazing.

mummmy2017 Sat 12-Oct-19 08:43:40

As said most trusts pay out at 25.
Could this be money from your Granddad and Grandmother is just a trustee?
Is there a name on the form of the company with your money?

lovesT Sat 12-Oct-19 08:55:35

@coatlessinspokane yes I agree. Like I said my mum and her haven't had a good relationship but we have mostly (when she's not being difficult) and I try to keep that up, so I will try to be honest with her, which I have been in the last week or so but she's very difficult to get through to.

@mummmy2017 no definitely not, she is the one who built the trust and her and grandad got divorced years ago and he's not part of the picture at all. She is the one in charge and has various people as trustees, one person who I don't know and one distant family member who I vaguely know. The form only seems to say the name of the trust and reference number I think.

stucknoue Sat 12-Oct-19 09:09:16

It may be worth you and your sister and cousins contacting a solicitor or other expert in trusts other than your grandmothers solicitor for impartial advice. Once established the type of trust and whether funds should be released you can decide whether or not to engage your solicitor to sort it out so there's no more confusion. There's trusts that do go beyond 25 so legally it's hard to say from your post

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