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.
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.