Wills, Trusts, Jane Austen and You

Wills, trusts and settlements have provided a rich seam of material successfully mined by many a writer over the years; take “Pride and Prejudice”.

Although there is no overt mention of a Will or a trust, the ‘entail’ is referred to several times in the novel.  This method of controlling property would have been created by a trust set up some time before.

Longbourne, the house occupied by the Bennet family, its grounds and the farm from which the family derives its income can pass down only through the male line.  The Bennets have no sons, so the estate will pass to a cousin, Mr Collins, who, says Mr Bennet to his wife and five daughters, “…when I am dead, may turn you out of this house as soon as he pleases.”

This state of affairs drives the whole plot.  Unless at least one of the girls finds a rich husband, they all face a life of genteel poverty, so for Mrs Bennet: “The business of her life was to get her daughters married.”  The business of the novel is to throw the Bennet girls in the way of an assortment of men: the poor and dastardly Mr Wickham, the comfortably-off but ridiculous Mr Collins, the rich and suitable Mr Bingley, and the even richer and eventually suitable Mr Darcy.

Nearly everyone lives happily ever after.

Nowadays, most of us would not want to create such a trust.  Trusts, however, remain a very useful device in a number of fairly common circumstances, for instance:-

  • You have young children not yet old enough to manage money
  • You have a disabled relative you want to help, but you worry about the effect this may have on his   benefits
  • You want your daughter to benefit from your Will, but you worry that her new business might not succeed, and you would prefer that what you leave to her does not end up in the hands of her creditors

The answer in each of these situations is likely to be a trust.  Our team can help you set up a trust in your Will to take effect after your death, or to create a trust during your lifetime — and all done without the drama.

If you would like more information, please contact the Wills Trusts and Probate team at: enquiries@blasermills.co.uk