Ten things to know about trusts

1. A trust is a legal entity consisting of a donor/founder, trustees and beneficiaries. The founder holds assets (without owning them) for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. In South Africa, trusts are governed by the Trust Property Control Act of 1988, and are registered by the Master of the High Court. The trust division … Read more

Can a trust register a business name?

In South Africa, business trusts can be created, as a form of inter vivos trust, to carry on the business with a profit incentive. Business trusts are a legal arrangement created to hold and manage assets for the benefits of individuals or entities. Given that a business trust is an inter vivos (living) trust, this … Read more

Can you borrow money from a trust?

A trust is a legal entity consisting of a donor/founder, trustees and beneficiaries. The founder holds assets (without owning them) for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. A trust beneficiary is entitled to benefit under the trust arrangement, from vested or discretionary rights determined by the trust deed. Beneficiaries of a trust are usually natural … Read more

Can you buy a house through a trust?

It is indeed possible to buy a house through a trust. Starting a trust can be quite costly but purchasing a property through a trust has certain advantages that arguably outweigh the cost. A trust is a vehicle for asset protection. Assets in a trust are not owned by the trustees or the beneficiaries, which … Read more

Can you register a car to a trust?

This is possible, and is usually done using a family trust, which is a type of inter vivos (living) trust. Living trusts are created by agreement between living people. They are very useful for keeping assets for generations on end. The Founder establishes the trust during his/her lifetime; this constitutes an agreement between him/herself and … Read more

Death and divorce with a trust

Divorce Upon divorce, the impact on the trust depends on the type of marital regime the couple had. Marriage in community of property: If you create a trust then you, as the estate planner, require the consent of your spouse to sell or encumber to a trust any assets that are not excluded from your … Read more

Definitions: ownership, bewind, and curatorship trusts

Different trusts give beneficiaries different rights, depending on how much a trustee wishes to distribute of an income, assets, or capital to beneficiaries. The key element of a trust arrangement is the transfer of ownership and control of the trust’s assets from the founder to one or more trustees, who hold the trust’s assets for … Read more

Does a trust have to be registered?

In South Africa, trusts are governed by the Trust Property Control Act of 1988, and must be registered by the Master of the High Court. The trust division of the Master’s office maintains a trust file and controls any queries regarding trusts. The administration of trusts is governed by the provisions of the Trust Property … Read more

Family trusts

Family trusts can be testamentary or inter vivos trusts. Their main purpose is the protection and maintenance of trust property, for the benefit of minor children, or family relations of the founder. In this type of trust, the trustees are all beneficiaries and the beneficiaries are all related to one another. As such, the Master … Read more

How taxation on trusts works in South Africa

For tax purposes, a trust is considered to be a separate “person”. A trust will be considered to be resident for tax purposes if it is incorporated, established, formed, or has its place of effective management in South Africa. Depending on the circumstances, trust income can be taxed in the hands of the donor, beneficiary, … Read more