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Ask Shade About Trusts: Does My Husband Have to Know?



Ask ShadeHi Shade,
My name is Gloria, I got married 5 years ago at 35. Before the wedding, I already built a house at Mowe, a block of 6 flats, and I have other undeveloped property that I didn’t tell my husband about (so as not to intimidate or repel him). My plan is to gift the property to my children as a start-up fund the moment they are done with university. Do I have to declare these assets to my husband? If anything happens to me along the way, how can I ensure my children get these assets? The properties were bought in my name.

Hi Gloria,
It is quite commendable that you were resourceful enough to invest in assets as a young woman; even more commendable that you are planning towards a secure future for your children.

One of the best ways to secure your property is to set up a Trust, naming your children as beneficiaries. A Trust is a legal relationship amongst 3 parties – the Settlor, the Trustee and the Beneficiaries. The Settlor being the original creator of the Trust, the Trustee the ‘holder’ of the assets transferred to the Trust and the Beneficiary or Beneficiaries the party or parties for whose benefit the Trust has been established. Trusts are very confidential in nature and as such make it possible for you to achieve your objectives privately.

You can set up a Trust and transfer these assets to the Trust. The assets will be held in the name of your Trust/Trustee and in due course, income generated from these assets can be given to your children to start up their own businesses. Alternatively, at a designated time, your Trust may sell such real estate asset and give proceeds to your children as seed investment for their businesses. You can guide your Trustees, even in absentia through a Letter of Wishes. Putting the assets in a trust today offers the protection you require for the assets because such assets will be legally independent of you.

As you are still young and active, I would recommend that you set up a Trust that still leaves the role of management of your assets and investment decisions to you.

To “protect” your marriage, you may choose to set up a joint Trust with your husband or name his as a beneficiary under the Trust with instructions on what exactly you wish to give to him and when. It is not necessary for beneficiaries to know about the Trust.

Folashade has a wealth of experience in legal structuring, capital markets, and financing transactions. Her expertise also spans Private Trust, and other succession/estate planning alternatives. Currently, she is Managing Director of ARM Trustees Limited, a subsidiary of the ARM Group charged with asset protection, wealth transfer and generally, succession and estate planning.


  1. Gorgeous

    September 22, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    In the same boat. Father left us properties, and i have experienced a boyfriend/ex-fiance trying to force me to sell all my inheritance. He was almost obsessed with it. Reason why i dumped the fool, and lost all interest in him whatsoever. Since then i have been scared of really telling anyone. I have hinted to my present Fiance, and he seems not to have any interest or want to control. I will soon start developing the properties, and they are for my future girl children as i believe boys should work for theirs… I am scarred by my previous experience and really tiptoe around what i tell the present boo.

    • Abz

      September 22, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Just out of curiousity, what if you only have boys? What happens?

    • Gorgeous

      September 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      It will pass to their daughters…

    • Evil not gorgeous

      September 22, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      You are all shades of evil, not gorgeous

      For your girl child, if God does not give you any now, you will be crying upandan. Father left for you, why didnt he just leave for the boys alone?

      The things i hear you girls/ladies type and say here makes me scared and also teaches men to know how to keep you out of their finances!

      It shows you are going to treat your husband bad, treat your male wards bad and all the men in your life. If you people hate men so much, why don’t you keep to yourself or marry yourselves rather than bringing misery into the lives of men, yet you want to marry!

      I just cant- Bella Naija has so degenerated to a blog of men bashers, men haters, association of single/married miserable, spiteful and bitter human beings

    • ogeAdiro

      September 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      That type of mentality might actually do more harm to your girls. And, if you can’t trust the person you might be getting married to with this type of info then I’m not sure what to say.
      We may need to be more open as a society. It will probably even help us find partners that fit us better.

    • Gorgeous

      September 22, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      I dont believe you read and understood clearly what i wrote up there. What harm to my girl children??? What harm has owning properties caused me? I dont come from a tribe where girls owning properties is a problem.

    • Olu

      September 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      “..and they are for my future girl children as i believe boys should work for theirs..”

      That’s equality right there …..

    • Gorgeous

      September 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      I have a right to do what i want with what belongs to me. Dont you misogynists say its a man’s world? Why are you scared to work for yours. By the way, i am sure the boy children will be more than ok going by my Fiance’s capability..

    • AceOfSpades

      September 22, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      What did we carry? What did Gorgeous throw?
      What have Olu said now that you are calling name…..God have mercy!

      I think she should tell her husband sha, he is no longer a boyfriend now, he is now the husband! If i marry a lady who is 35 years old with all the societal pressure in Nigeria (let’s not deny that she wouldn’t have gone through that) and then she wakes up one day and tell me this, I can fake anger for just 5min and then we plan how to go about it. I understand she’d be trying to protect herself from scavengers in the form of men.

      You build a house while married, then that’s a different case.

    • Okay

      September 22, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      Hey Gorgeous, not every man is a misogynists !!! and your children deserve equal love from you.

      Btw BELLA NAIJA. I just saw on the news that Ambode conducted a walk around lagos recently with Men to raise awareness about sexual violence and domestic violence especially against women. Please find a source and post this news.

      thenationonlineng . net / ambode-leads-walk-sexual-domestic-violence /

    • Vicious

      September 22, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      @Gorgeous, i am speechless.

      For your girl child? if God does not give you any now you will be crying upandan. Father left the properties for you, why didnt he leave just for the boys alone? The things i hear you girls/ladies type and say here makes me scared and also teaches men to know how to keep you out of their finances

      It shows you are going to treat your husband badly, treat your male kids bad and all the men in your life. If you people hate men so much why dont you keep to yourself or marry yourselves rather than bring misery into the lives of the men. You hate men, yet you still want to marry them.

      I just cant -Bella naija has degenerated to a blog of men bashers, men haters, association of single/married miserable, spiteful and bitter human beings

    • Cindy

      September 23, 2016 at 12:11 am

      Okay we have heard you. See how you generalized and concluded about the entire females on this blog just because of one comment. I wonder who is truly vindictive. It’s always “frustrated single ladies”…… very cliche

    • lacey

      September 22, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      @ Gorgeous your head is so there! Same here as well I do not plan to leave a dime for my male children as well! They will get the best education o, but I have seen the tendencies with men in my family going to bring broke ass females as partners to cause problems with their poverty mentality! I come from a culture where males inherit their father’s properties, although women have a say, because of this stupid tradition the men tend to become very lazy and focus on inheritance! They can inherit their father’s , my husband’s properties and like my mother left sole control to her daughters, I am doing the same!I am going to leave all my investments to my female children as well, who should same to their daughters! At least their father has properties, but mine own goes to my daughters!
      And my dear lady, put your children’s name in the trust and that person you trust to keep to your will on that trust, all you need is to let your husband know about it , since you got the property before you guys got married, he should not have problem! He does not have to be named in the trust, as to avoid family problems from man’s family, afterall you are leaving the properties to your children!

    • Just Negodu

      September 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      It took me a while. But, l have since come to realise that most of the commenters on BN are young females between the ages of 18 – 28years of age. Single, still living at home or just broke out, in a first job, still having boyfriend issues and have yet to experience life of the real world of adults. Now that l know, l am more tolerance and just laugh at the sauciness and unrealistic comments l read here.

      It is good to be young and impressionable. Life is good.

  2. Thatgidigirl

    September 22, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    “Do I have to declare these assets to my husband?” I don’t see the answer to this question anywhere in Shade’s response. Meanwhile, the lady needs to reverse the roles and ask same question….would you want your husband to declare his assets to you (note that the word asset can be used ambiguously, and can include a love child somewhere)? If you’re married to a man that you cannot divulge something like this to for fear of “repeling or intimidating” him, then you had no business marrying him in the first place.

  3. Evil not gorgeous

    September 22, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hmm, things we hear daily!

    One question for you, if you find out your husband is hiding his properties/finances from you what would you do? Infact i need to direct men to this site to come and learn how evil and dubious some of these daughters of Eve are. He pitied you and married you at 35, yet repay him with all this?

    If you can hide all this from the man you sleep on the same bed wih daily, eating together claiming you love each other, then you can kill him. Simple!

    This world has become something else. Shade, you stylishly ignored the question but said trust are private and confidential and no other party need to know, weldone!

    This is what you all have become! BN, dont let this people spoil your business and blog cos soonest this blog would soon have an undesirable name. Check all articles, comments and what have you, you will see the trend of the discussions. No other blog is as sexist as this

    • Isi

      September 24, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      Lmaoooooooooooo oo! @ pitied you and married you at 35. Sigh. Dudes , dudes, dudes. Ever daft.

  4. john

    September 22, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    fake hypocritical women trying to be strong is very laughable

  5. amaka

    September 22, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Well the marriage is working. It’s 5yrs down th line. She can always tell him much later. I don’t see anything wrong… they still. Have a. Lifetime together. But she should set up the trust in case something happens to her….

  6. Beard gang

    September 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    hiding stuff from your spouse is a very good and wise thing to like if we advice, will you take it? lol…creating unnecessary day he finds out and the love extinguishes and fighting and divorce are the only memories the kids have of the parents. is it just wealth you want to pass to the kids? or proper life values and virtues like love, respect,trust etc? if your husband did the same will you be happy? genuinely think about it.
    why do people get married to people they don’t trust? LOVE & TRUST SHOULD BE OF THE SAME DEPTH IN ANY RELATIONSHIP/MARRIAGE/FRIENDSHIP.

  7. Be Wise

    September 22, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Abeg don’t tell him o.

  8. Itha

    September 22, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    I CANNOT believe what i’m seeing here.
    I have just one question though… if you cannot trust the person you’re intending to promise your whole life to (on your wedding day) with this information WHY EXACTLY are you marrying the person??? like someone help me understand.

    Nobody should come and write aunty Bella article later oo. when marriage is built on such foundations as deceit, lies, mistrust only God knows what will happen later. Please if you are unsure of the character of the person you are about to pledge you whole LIFE too what is money or property that can vanish or lose value? I think we have a ridiculous case of misplaced priorities…property should be the least of your worries if you are with a shady man. I’m not saying you can have a trust..I think that’s an extremely smart protection (because what of cases where the parents die together in accident) but hiding your wealth from your partner…NO NO!

    And anyone that supports this I hope your opinion won’t change if its a man hiding wealth or assets and don’t call him greedy either!

  9. Annie

    September 22, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Its just hard working with nigerian men and their egos sometimes. I think she should have told him but i dont think not telling him should break them up. If he is wise he might be offended for a while but will get over it. The fact that she is planning for the future of her children is a good thing and a wise man will see the good in it.

  10. john

    September 22, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    @annie , I hope u will dish out the same advise when a man hides money, assets and even another family from his wife after all if the woman is wise , she will understand. The hypocrisy here is astonishing and women wonder why they are not taking seriously when they complain

    • Cindy

      September 23, 2016 at 12:16 am

      Oh pls! You can see that most of the comments here are not supporting the poster and they are from females. Every opportunity you get, you want to start shouting “women are hypocrites” even when it is not necessary….. you’re beginning to sound silly.

    • Dream

      September 24, 2016 at 1:57 am

      Extremely silly sef!

  11. Vicious

    September 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Hmm the things we hear daily

    One question for you, if you find out your husband is hiding his properties/finances from you, what would you do? infact i need to direct men to this site to learn how dubious some of these daughters of Eve have become. He pitied you and married you at 35 yet you repay him with all this?

    if you hide all this from the man you sleep with on the same bed, eat together, claiming you love each other, then you can kill him, simple.

    Shade, you stylishly ignored the question and said trust are private and confidential and no other party need to know…weldone This is what you all have become

    bn,dont let this people spoil your business and blog cos soonest this blog would soon have an undesirable name. check all the articles, comments and what have you, you will see the trend of discussion. no other blog s as sexist as this

    • Lo

      September 22, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      “He pitied her”??? You are just as sexist as the people you’re criticizing. Hypocrite.

    • vicious

      September 23, 2016 at 8:28 am

      Yes, he pitied her
      Was she d one who went to propose to the man?
      He pitied her, simple!

      We are doing you a favour, if you want to hear that!
      You people have gone south, and these are things you need to hear to correct your brain

    • Loki

      September 23, 2016 at 8:58 am

      @Vicious, in the interest of the gene pool, I hope you die before you reproduce. Thank you.

    • vicious

      September 23, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Loki, you hope i die?

      I dont just hope,
      I pray you, your siblings and your entire family is wiped out before the end of this year 2016
      signed and sealed!

      You don’t have the sole discretion of abuse or sharp mouth.

      You come to me in one way, you receive it back in a thousand ways cos as i no come for you, never ever come for me in your entire life.

      Before the end of this year, write it down–Your entire family will be wiped out

    • vicious

      September 23, 2016 at 9:24 am

      As you no get home training, somebody must teach you from outside

    • e mi ni

      September 23, 2016 at 9:42 am

      @loki and @vicious… i cancel both of your evil prayers in Jesus name.
      Please do not let difference of opinion lead to pronouncements of death.
      I pray God will heal both sexes from our trust issues. It is very sad when you cannot trust someone that you feel it is necessary to hide your assets from them. Worse when you later discover that they also do not trust you or they have also been hiding. You feel offended and justified that you never trusted them in the first place but you dont realise that you are the one responsible for what has happened. You are just as guilty. May God truly have mercy.

  12. StaciB

    September 22, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    How do we ask Sade a question?

    I have a house, me and my husband are living in currently. It was given to me by my father and I managed to convince my husband that we should live here in town rather than a far place from both our work. I lied to my husband that it was a gift from my dad for the both of us but it’s just my name there. I did this because he was refusing to stay in the house. He wanted us to rent a house far away and there was no point in wasting money on rent and petrol (for travel to and from work, plus it would be so stressful for us going to and from work as we only had one car at the time)). Should I put the house in a trust for my future kids?

    • slice

      September 23, 2016 at 7:57 am

      No, don’t put the house in a trust for your kids. The house was a gift to both of you and you are both enjoying the benefit of it. Of course your father put the house in your name and that’s fine. Both of your names do not have to be on everything.

  13. Married Lady

    September 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Hmmmmmm. It’s quite tricky. Truth is that u cannot trust a man with money. I say that from experience. No matter how much integrity he has, money can make him reveal sides of him u never thought was there. My worry about u telling him is that he may decide to relax on his responsibilities because he knows u are capable and slowly u will become the breadwinner and before u say jack, u would have sold all those assets. These things can happen to the best of us. I would say, don’t tell him. Set up a trust like shade said and keep all the documents (of the assets and the trust) in a safe deposit box in the bank.
    I say this with a very painful heart. All women need their own personal stash that their husbands should not know about. U don’t know when u would need it. Not just incase of a break up or divorce but it can be for ur own personal investment. It can make u feel empowered and improve ur self esteem.
    Note that u can never know EVERYTHING about ur spouse. They can surprise u any day.
    If I found out my hubby had assets stored for our kids’s future, I Dnt think I will be angry about it.

  14. Na wah

    September 22, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Haba na bella naija I am not used to wailing but it seems like you guys fried dodo with my initial comment.

  15. slice

    September 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    It depends . If you guys had an open conversation about what each owns then u shd have told him. If not, then there’s no need. Not everyone is interested in sharing those details with their partner .
    If not sharing it is eating at you, then by all means tell him already

  16. Marian

    September 23, 2016 at 3:08 am

    I’m gonna be so hurt if i should find out my husband kept something like that from me. Chei!! My head will boil. The devil has a way of manipulating secrets like this. Sounds like you guys have a wonderful marriage. It’s better for him to hear it from you than find out from someone else and the whole thing can get blown out of proportion.

    I’ve literally seen something like this that lead to divorce. Only difference was the lady started after marriage and her mom knew about it. Someone from naija called the husband to congratulate him on the house warming. Dude thought his wife went to naija to visit her family.

    I’ll suggest after his fav meal and mind blowing sex☺

    Ensuring your kids get it is nothing more than a visit to a lawyer.

  17. Madam

    September 23, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Sincerely, comment sections on BN these days are littered by “feminist squabbles”, “men haters”, “sexists” and what have you. Bn readers will always find a way of twisting almost anything towards that direction. I am beginning to get wary of coming here. The BN of old had a lot of smart and intelligent comments that I looked forward to learning from the comment sections. I hope no children under 18 stumble on this site cos I wouldn’t want my children reading what I see here (comments).

  18. Missappleberry

    September 23, 2016 at 8:07 am

    I’m afraid for my life by everything I have read here today. Things are happening in this life sha! ?

  19. nana

    September 23, 2016 at 9:39 am

    lol @ Men, we are not equal granted. everyone has had a different reaction to this stories. Madam hush up about it, the next thing you will hear now is how he has one business idea and needs capital to fund it, and you will be expected to sell the property to help him as a good wife. since as victor said he pitied you to marry you @ 35 loooool, You might want to save your assets for when the pity clears out of his eyes..
    If my husband does not tell me about his properties, it is not a do or die affair, why exactly do i need to know all these, so long as he is providing and is continuing to provide? Nobody knows tomorrow, we should all hope for the best and prepare for the worst. My two cents shaa

  20. Onyie

    September 23, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Simple question: if you found out your husband has assets you don’t know about, will you feel hurt by his not telling you about them?

    Marriage is a partnership so why in hell will you get married to someone you can’t share everything with please. This is one of the reasons why the divorce rate is high in this country. People getting married without knowing what the institution is about.

    Why can’t you tell him about the assets and also your intentions with regards to setting them aside for your children’s future. Discuss this with him letting him know the reasons why you want to put the assets in a trust for the children. They are his children too so why would he be opposed to you doing something to secure a good and stable future for them.

    Seriously the comments above on this issue are just terrible. Like @madam said we need back the BN of old where everyone had intelligent non-men bashing contributions to make on such topics.

  21. Sassy

    September 23, 2016 at 9:54 am

    This is my dilemma right now. I’m getting married next month to the best man ever. I have 2 properties I am developing right now and some tidy sum of money in a fixed deposit. I already bought one of the properties before I met him and I bought the second one while we were dating, albeit before we became serious. One o the property is almost complete and the other one is half way. I feel so guilty every time because I know everything about him and like him too except for the properties. The last time I wanted to tell him, my mom raised such hell, telling me she did not raise a daughter that a man will come and eat her hard work. I said I should tell him about the properties but leave out the fixed deposit but my mom wouldn’t hear of it. I used my younger brother’s name as next of kin on the properties and fixed deposit. I will change it as soon as I start bearing children. Mind you, my mom is not adamant about me not telling my fiance because my brother’s name is on my properties. she doesn’t even know of that fact. My father has 3houses and one f them has already been bequeathed to my brother. She always says men can change at anytime so I need to be prepared and I should have something of my own to fall back on just in case but I love this man so much and I don’t want to start my marriage with a lie/omission.

    • Marian

      September 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      This in my opinion is a recipe for disaster. Your mom is already controlling things. Your fiancee will feel like a fool. Like there is this secret your whole family is in on. One of the hardest things to do after i got married was putting my hubby before my family. You will have to go behind his back to develop the other property and you will be talking to your mom about it behind his back. If you can share your body with him i think you should be able to share everything. Personally i made sure i talked about everything (secrets, weakness, regrets…) when we were dating so i’m an open book to my husband.

      Money and secrets have ruined a lot of families. Pray to God for wisdom to navigate money issues in your family. The two should become one.

      At the end of the day it’s your life but don’t let your mom run your marriage o.

    • You dont love him

      September 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      No you dont love him!
      What do you mean by before you got engaged or before you were serious?

      Are you trying to tell me that the guy had nothing before he met you?

      You people are just so selfish. Hope he can keep all the things he had before he met you so that you people can bring afresh on your wedding day? He can sell all, you too can keep yours then you begin buying everything all over from plate, to spoon to cup, to car etc

    • Selee

      September 23, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Your mother is a wise woman. LISTEN TO HER. She knows what she is talking about

  22. newbie

    September 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    But na wa for you people o. How does someone saying she’d rather not tell her husband about assets she acquired prior to marriage turn into men bashing? Calling people evil and what not? See ehn, this thing called marriage. It requires wisdom. No one is perfect. We choose whom to marry not because they have no flaws, but because we have studied them and identified which of their imperfections we can live with and how to manage them. Someone once said knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit but wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. If you know your husband well, you can determine whether his attitude to asset ownership and use will be a threat to your realizing your original purpose for the assets. And it doesn’t make him a bad person – this is you choosing to deal with a particular flaw in a particular way. Let us be honest, although most men have the interest of their families at heart (I would like to think so), most men are equally risk takers and it takes knowing your man to determine whether you are prepared to risk him coercing you into risking the assets if he knew about them.

    Just in case it wasn’t clear from Shade’s response – if you are struggling with guilt, please stop it already. Seek out a good lawyer and do what you need to do in the interest of your children. If you think your husband would react negatively if he found out, well the truth is he probably would so you need to be prepared to deal with that, but it doesn’t make what you are considering wrong. Anger and disappointment are human traits.

    • newbie

      September 23, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      And BN, please could you guys get rid of this irritating pop up on your screen that shows a woman holding a tablet and some tabs that say ‘shopper’, ‘merchant’ and something else? I know you are a business and you exist to make money but sheesh! Your site is already crowded with ads but this pop up is just the limit. It’s bloody doing my head in!!!!

    • Dream

      September 24, 2016 at 2:03 am

      Perhaps we need to sign a petition on change for org before BN will attend to the annoying ads.

  23. Rhecks

    September 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Yes! BN, please remove this useless advert of a woman holding a tablet. It’s unfair that I spend my money on data, visit your site religiously, and then I don’t enjoy my money’s worth!

  24. aj

    September 24, 2016 at 9:31 am

    na wa for the men in the comment section.. I did not get any sense of men bashing o. To the lady that said she will give her property to her female descendants you my dear are very smart. In the workforce of the world today where women are still being paid less than men it will give your future girls a leg up in their financial status. The male ones will be very okay with solid education and perhaps money from their dad.

    • John

      September 24, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      @aj ..Yeah ,properties she inherited from her father (a man), if every man start thinking that same way again..u women will the first to shout and advice is Do unto others as you would have them do unto …if you know you wont get angry tomorrow, if you found out that your husband kept secret from you ,then do whatever you want to do..simple, dont be a hypocrite about it and also in Nigeria..No gender has it easy

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