What Others Say
Why take our word for it?
We are so confident of our people and services that we recently (2021) had ourselves examined and audited by Mills & Reeve LLP, a respected national legal firm specialising in trust work. The company, which prides itself on over “two centuries of experience”, concluded that:
In our opinion the files audited show that WAY Trustees provide a service of very high quality, with attention to detail and a commitment to adhering to the principles and standards required of a professional trustee. The audit showed that WAY Trustees are committed to providing an efficient and effective service to their clients, including ensuring compliance requirements are met and that individual client circumstances are taken into account when making trustee decisions.
For further informal comments please read on.
WAY Trustees is firmly aligned with Mills & Reeve LLP, whose industry organisation memberships such as STEP (an organisation which specialises in family inheritance and succession planning) and Resolution (for lawyers committed to non-confrontational divorce) marry up with our own associations and memberships, expertly positioned to provide the best family wealth preservation protection. We are proud to share their findings with you here.
So why is that important?
At the heart of it, we know what we’re doing and want you to have absolute belief that we do too. Our professional trustees will take time to understand your unique family dynamic and will then ensure your interests remain paramount, all the while ensuring the complex and regulated legislative duties of a trustee are followed.
Informal observations by the Mills & Reeve team
We have recently completed a technical trust audit on the operations of the trustee subsidiary of WAY Group and were pleased to be able to offer a positive opinion on its work on behalf of settlors and beneficiaries of the many trusts they tend on behalf of all stakeholders. The primary copyrighted trust that is the main focus of their work on behalf of wealthy families, is a well-researched and professionally drafted (by an eminent and published UK trust expert) trust, aimed at protecting the interests of settlors and their families by arranging for financial assets to be husbanded by attentive and committed professional trustees. The trustees are ready to assist in applying creative solutions to help with the many unexpected events which happen within families everywhere.
The trust precedent has been available since 2003 and the WAY trustees now oversee some 1,146 trusts with financial assets amounting to £181.8m. We have been impressed by the flexibility contained within the trust clauses which allow the trustees great leeway in looking after the various beneficiaries, including the settlors themselves. The benefits range from progressive mitigation from Inheritance Tax to a plethora of multi-generational benefits and protections for a wide range of beneficiaries. In particular we have seen practical instances which demonstrate how the trustees have used their extensive powers to address various family ‘situations’. Just one example of both the flexibility of the trust and the care and attention extended by the personal trustee department at WAY on behalf of trust families is demonstrated in the following example from the files seen by Mills & Reeve.
A February 2011 trust, where the settlor died in 2018 and, following discussions with the family, WAY added the surviving spouse as an additional member of the appointed class of beneficiaries (not possible during the settlor’s life without compromising the Inheritance Tax benefits of the trust). The trustees subsequently lent the spouse what was effectively a temporary bridging loan to assist in a house move. Care was taken to ensure the other beneficiaries were not compromised by this, since the surviving spouse had by then found a new partner. They were comfortable with the loan. After the loan was repaid the trustees were then asked to lend a smaller amount to a young granddaughter of the settlor who needed assistance in buying a property. An agreed legal charge was placed on the property by the trustees, given her young age and because she was purchasing a property with her partner, to further protect the trust assets from a dilution by any unanticipated actions by non-family members.
Of course, the WAY trustees are ever mindful of both the rights and the wishes of all beneficiaries of their trusts. We have been impressed by the work done by the WAY Trust team on compiling a directory of ‘Letters of Wishes’ and, in particular, variable paragraphs to be used within such letters to guard against unforeseen events or actions which might undermine the original trust intentions. Trustees are given extensive powers but under Trust legislation they have to remain fully responsive, initially to the settlors, but also to all beneficiaries, of the trusts for which they are responsible. This generally happens by settlors giving their trustees guidance in the form of a Letter of Wishes. Such guidance is of an organic nature in that variations or replacement Letters of Wishes can be issued at any time as family circumstances change. After the demise of settlors then such wishes and guidance can be shared with the trustees by members of the beneficiary class.
An excellent testimonial from a long-standing WAY Client:
I had the good fortune to place £120,000 into a WAY Trust in June 2006, which is now worth almost £246,000. I was so delighted as it was approaching the 7-year anniversary that I placed another £102,000 into a second WAY Trust in May 2013, which is now worth £170,000. That means that I moved a total of £222,000 into trust but I now have £417,000 available for my family – completely free of Inheritance Tax! One of my best financial decisions ever.
– V Saxby, Sussex, August 2021
The good news doesn’t stop there! The trustees, in this case, have generally been using their annual Capital Gains Tax (CGT) allowances along the way and because each trust has its own nil rate band for the purposes of the 10-year periodic charge there have been no periodic charges . . . AND there is plenty of value there with sympathetic and responsive trustees in case there are any unforeseen family needs in the future. If and when, distributions to beneficiaries are made, the trustees can distribute underlying investments ‘in specie’ and request holdover relief so that those beneficiaries can realise their funds as necessary over future years to use their own annual CGT allowances.
A classic example of the WAY Trust in action
Lighthouse Financial Planning is a modern forward-thinking firm providing Independent Financial Advice to both individuals and businesses.
As a financial adviser I have used WAY’s range of Inheritance Tax trusts for over 14 years. Of all the products we use, the WAY trusts have proved to be extremely effective in reducing Inheritance Tax for our clients and the service we receive from WAY is quite simply second to none. If only more companies were like WAY.
– Jeremy Fisher CFPTM Chartered MCSI, Director/Financial Planner, Lighthouse Financial Planning Ltd, March 2022