I think it is a question of reading the trust registration guidance in the light of your client’s specific circumstances. That is is of course if the Trustees want to pay you for this work. If not then I suggest she researched the point herself, especially as if your advice proves to be incorrect she will no doubt be expecting you to pay any penalty for late registration.
She and the other trustees have a duty to meet their reporting etc obligations. If she is unable to do this herself (clearly not as she is asking you for advice) she needs to pay someone. It is part of the cost of having a trust. If she doesn’t like it she can wind up the trust, although that in itself will bring costs, just not ongoing ones.
We have all seen cases where clients think they can do things themselves and, like much DIY, it just ends up in a mess, costing more to put right than it would have cost for someone to do it properly in the first place. It does not cost a lot to register a trust. I suggest she pays someone look at this point and to do the regis if needed. If she is not willing to then I fail to see why you should put yourself on the hook for, presumably, nothing by telling her whether she needs to register. Are you even insured to provide such advice (IFAs I have spoken to will not advise on this)? I would also add, if she can’t read and understand the guidance as to whether she needs to register, why does she think she can do the registration correctly?
Sorry to go on but I do hate the something for nothing brigade.
Sara Spencer | Trust Manager
Sara Spencer Ltd, 8 Kingsway, Harrogate, HG1 5NQ
07952 651881 | 01423 524114
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