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Types of Trusts

The type of trust you choose will depend on what you want done with your assets as outlined in your Will and there should be a specific clause in your Will regarding the trust. Our experienced Will makers, as well as our trust and taxation officers, are able to assist and advise you on the best way to create both a Will and a trust in line with your needs, wishes, and circumstances.

Click below to find more information on the different types of trusts administered by the Public Trustee.

Charitable Trusts offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to donate to charities on an ongoing basis. A Charitable Trust may already exist for the charity or cause you wish to assist and you can specify in your Will that a portion of your estate be given to that trust. If one doesn’t exist, then you might decide that part of your estate be used to create a trust for the cause or charity you have a passion for. Either way, through a Charitable Trust, you will be leaving a lasting legacy.

I already give to charities, why would I set up a Charitable Trust?

A Charitable Trust gives you the opportunity to keep giving to your chosen cause or charity even after you are gone.

It enables you to leave a lasting legacy, as the interest earned from the trust (from your initial donation) will be distributed to the charity or cause year after year.

How can Public Trustee help?

We can help you through preparing your Will and including a provision for a bequest to establish a Charitable Trust.


Examples of Charitable Trusts administered by the Public Trustee

Dame Roma Mitchell Foundation
The Dame Roma Mitchell Foundation Trusts were established to provide financial assistance for young people, up to 29 years of age, who are or have been under the Guardianship of the Minister under the Children’s Protection Act 1993 or are a child/young person from a remote Aboriginal Community who is or was placed in the care of their relatives in place of their parent/s.

The trust’s focus is to contribute towards the achievement of the personal goals, improved health and wellbeing, and personal development of the recipients.

We are the trustee for the Foundation, however the Department for Education and Child Development provides the operational support for the trust and applications should be made directly to Dame Roma Mitchell Grants, Department for Education and Child Development.

Their contact details are:

Email: drmtrust@sa.gov.au
Telephone: 1300 650 971
Fax: 8226 1902

Click here to for more information.

The Amber Reinders Childhood Cancer Trust
The Amber Reinders Childhood Cancer Trust was established for the purpose of supporting the Childhood Cancer Association. The Childhood Cancer Association provides ongoing and practical hands on support for children living with cancer as well as their families. This support is delivered via a range of services including peer & family support, sibling support, free accommodation in the city to families from rural areas, respite accommodation, financial assistance, educational assistance, and bereavement services.

We can accept donations for the Amber Reinders Childhood Cancer Trust. Please contact us to discuss the donation process.

Aron Feldman Trust
The Aron Feldman Trust was established in August 2011 as a public charitable trust for the purpose of supporting the charitable activities of Jewish organisations. Some of the activities include relieving poverty in the Jewish community, providing scholarships and financial endowment to students and schools in South Australia who teach the religious and cultural aspects of Judaism, and the advancement of the Jewish community in Adelaide.

Requests for grants can be made to the Aron Feldman Trust Advisory Board directly, or can be forwarded to the Trust through our office.

We are the trustee of this trust, and if you are considering making a donation to the trust please contact us for further information.

Educational Trusts offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to assist students studying a specific educational course or who are attending a particular school or university on an ongoing basis. The trust could also be established in memory of a loved one who was passionate about a particular hobby or interest. You can leave a lasting legacy in your Will or establish an educational trust to assist others who may require financial assistance to complete their studies.

What can I specify in the Trust?

You can nominate a particular area of study or a specific college or university where the funds may be used. You may also specify what the funds may be used for (e.g. to contribute to study fees or to support a student through post graduate studies). You may also specify the criteria applicants need to meet and the process by which they should apply for funds.

How can Public Trustee help?

We can help you through preparing your Will and including a provision for a bequest to establish an Educational Trust.


Examples of Educational Trusts administered by the Public Trustee

Cedric Arnold Seth Ferry Scholarship
The Ferry Scholarship is funded by a bequest from the late Cedric Arnold Seth Ferry, for the purpose of promoting study and research in the scientific fields of physics and chemistry. The Ferry Scholarship is available to students undertaking an honours degree at the Flinders University, the University of South Australia, or the University of Adelaide.

The Ferry Scholarship has provided financial support to some of South Australia’s most successful and award winning scientists.

Click here to download the Application Form which should be completed and returned to Public Trustee at the address provided.

The Lillian de Lissa Fund
The Lillian de Lissa Fund was created to provide funding to students and practitioners working in the field of early childhood.   Research funded by the Lillian de Lissa Fund has been ground breaking and has led to South Australia being seen as a leader, both nationally and internationally, in research into the care of young children.

The research and their application to future practices in South Australia have been innovative. The research to date has explored the views of large numbers of young children, and has been undertaken in partnership a range of partners including state and local government, non-government organisations, and the University of South Australia, and have led to research outcomes that have influenced many decisions within South Australia, Australia, and internationally, including education policy and legislation, and urban design.

The three de Lissa scholarships (the Lillian de Lissa Full Scholarship, the Lillian de Lissa Tuition Fees Scholarship, and the Lillian de Lissa Action Research Scholarship) are advertised around the middle of each year. The closing date for applications is October each year. All applications are reviewed and assessed by members of the Committee for the Lillian de Lissa and Jean Denton Memorial Trusts. Applicants are notified of the outcome of their applications via letter in November.

More information can be found on the UniSA website and enquiries and application form requests can be directed to:

Carol Thompson
External Tutor (Early Childhood Education)
Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
Email: carol.thompson@unisa.edu.au
Phone: 8337 7195

Lillian de Lissa was born in 1885 and was only twenty years old when she was appointed as the director of the first kindergarten opened by the Kindergarten Union of South Australia (KUSA) in 1905 (the same year that KUSA was established). By 1907 de Lissa had won the fight to provide training for people who were preparing to work with children under the age of seven. Her vision and tenacity of purpose led to KUSA, under their own auspices, establishing the Kindergarten Training College in Adelaide. KUSA became a major provider of education and knowledge regarding the care of young children, and it continued its work for 80 years until it closed in 1985.

KUSA established The Lillian de Lissa Fund in 1977 in honour of the late Lillian de Lissa and the devoted service she gave to KUSA and to the cause of pre-school education over a period of eleven years. The purpose of the Fund is to enable or provide assistance for advanced or post graduate studies or research, either within or outside Australia. The research must be in the area of pre-school education, or in a field for which the research outcomes would also benefit or could be applied to pre-school knowledge and practice within the Commonwealth of Australia.

The Fund also provides PhD scholarships and annual action grants which are awarded to students and practitioners working in early educational settings.

We have also entered into a unique agreement with the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) to fund a de Lissa Chair in Early Childhood Research, which has been held by Professor Pauline Harris since 2010. This joint position shared by UniSA and DECD provides a unique opportunity to link research, policy, and practice with ground-breaking South Australian research into ‘Children’s Voices’ which has gained both national and international recognition and has attracted further funding partners.

Injury and Compensation Trusts are usually established under the terms of a Court Order or Settlement, where funds have been paid to an individual in compensation for a personal injury another reason such as being a victim of crime. Often these funds will be held in trust for the benefit of the injured individual who is the beneficiary of the funds.

What payments can be held in an Injury and Compensation Trust?

Injury and Compensation Trusts are usually established with a lump sum payment, which may come from:

  • An accident insurance payment, for example compensation from the Motor Accident Commission (MAC)
  • A Court settlement.

What can the Trust funds be used for?

All expenditure from the trust must be for the benefit of the beneficiary. When a request for funds is made, the trustee should consider:

  • The amount of funds in the trust and how long the trust funds need to last
  • Any specific rules about what purposes the funds may be used for, as outlined in the trust deed or Court Order

Depending on the needs of the beneficiary funds may be released for medical expenses, accommodation, education, recreation, and/or respite. It is the trustee’s responsibility to ensure payments made from the trust benefit the beneficiary. It is particularly important to consider the medical needs of beneficiaries who have a disability or other special health needs.

An inter vivos (which literally means ‘between the living’) trust is created between living persons. In this case one person, the settlor, creates a trust to benefit a nominated beneficiary. On the establishment of the trust, the settlement funds and/or property are no longer assets which belong to the settlor and they no longer form part of his/her personal estate.

The purpose of the trust may be to provide financial assistance by way of regular or discretionary payments to the beneficiary.

A Minor’s, or Children’s, Trust is designed to manage and protect assets for a child until they reach an age specified by you. Some trusts are intended to provide funds to benefit a minor during childhood, which will be managed by the trustee. Others may not allow any expenditure and be designed to simply hold and protect funds until the minor reaches adulthood.

Some trust deeds specify that trust funds may only be used for specific purposes, such as education, or medical expenses (which are especially important in instances where a minor has a disability or illness).

Note: Any child under the age of 18 years is considered to be a minor in South Australia.

How is a Minor’s Trust created?

There are a number of ways that a trust can be created for a minor, including:

  • The minor inherits assets from an estate, and the Will specifies that the inheritance is to be held in trust until they reach a particular age.
  • Funds have been set aside by a family member for the benefit of the minor, for example, as an education fund.
  • Funds have been awarded through a Court to a minor as compensation for the death of a relative.
  • Superannuation benefits have been paid to a minor from the entitlements of a family member who has died.
  • An insurance company or the Court has awarded money to a minor as compensation for an injury (e.g. an injury sustained from a motor vehicle accident) or for a civil or criminal act against them (e.g. Victims of Crime Compensation).

How long can a Minor’s Trust operate?

The term of the trust will depend on the individual trust deed which governs the trust. In the majority of cases the trust ends when the minor reaches a specified age. This is usually 18, 21, or 25 years of age.

The trust may also end when a specific event occurs or a milestone is achieved such as the completion of tertiary education.

What can the trust funds be used for?

All expenditure from the trust must benefit the minor named in the trust. When a request for funds is made, the trustee must consider:

  • The amount of funds in the trust and how long the trust funds need to last.
  • The needs of any other beneficiaries.
  • Any specific rules about what purposes the funds may be used for, as outlined in the trust deed or Will.

Often funds may be released for educational expenses, medical expenses, and/or specific recreational activities.

The Special Disability Trust is a Federal Government initiative aimed at helping immediate family members and guardians to provide for the future of family members who have a disability. A Special Disability Trust can be established through a Will, or can be established by living family members to benefit their disabled relative. For a Special Disability Trust to be established, the beneficiary must verify that they are severely disabled and the trust deed must be complaint to the purpose of the Special Disability Trust. Click for more information on Special Disability Trusts from Centrelink.

Who qualifies for a Special Disability Trust?

An individual who has a severe disability or medical condition (including physical, intellectual, psychiatric, and/or behavioural disabilities or medical conditions, and also meets certain Centrelink or Veteran’s Affairs criteria may qualify as a beneficiary of a Special Disability Trust.

Who can donate to a special disability Trust?

Anyone can donate to a Special Disability Trust, however only immediate family members will be eligible for exemptions in regards to Centrelink social security means tests or gifting rules.

Immediate guardians and family members can contribute trust assets up to $500,000, without reducing the social security entitlements or their income support payments of the beneficiary.

Guardians and family members may also receive some gifting rule exemptions (meaning their contribution to trust assets will not affect any Centrelink social security payments they might receive).

What assets can be part of the Trust?

Any assets which produce income, for example, cash, shares, managed funds, rental property, and/or any assets that provide care and accommodation to the beneficiary (such as a house or unit, modified vehicle, and/or wheelchair) can be donated to the trust. Donations or contributions must be unconditional (meaning they cannot be removed from the beneficiary)during the course of the trust, but when the trust ends, any remaining funds or assets are then returned to the donors or are distributed to nominated individuals or organisations in accordance with the instructions in the trust.

Who can be a trustee?

A parent, sibling, or friend of the beneficiary, who is over 18 years of age and is an Australian resident, can be a trustee. A corporation that specialises in legal issues, accounting services, or financial planning can be a trustee, or we could be appointed to the position as a professional trustee company.

A Testamentary Trust is established as part of a Will and only begins upon the death of the testator (the person who made the Will). The trust is created to hold and safeguard some or all of the deceased person’s assets for the benefit of others.

What assets can be part of a Testamentary Trust?

There are many types of assets that can be held in trust. These may include:

  • Investments
  • Land or property
  • Cash
  • Other valuable assets, such as paintings, furniture, and/or jewellery.

The money and investments held in trust are also called trust capital. This capital may produce income, such as interest or dividends on shares. Assets may also increase in value which will result in capital gains (or an increase in the value of the asset from what it originally cost) for the trust.

Can I set up a life-interest benefit through a Testamentary Trust?

When establishing your trust, you may consider setting up a life-interest benefit for your beneficiary (who will then be known as a life-tenant). A life-interest benefit allows a person to benefit from an asset for the rest of their life, but without ultimately inheriting it. For example, a trust may allow a beneficiary to live in a property, receive the return on invested funds, or receive rental income from a property for the rest of their life. After their death, the trust assets can then pass to another family member, a charity, or whoever you have specified in your Will.

What other trusts can be established as a Testamentary Trust?

A Testamentary Trust can be set up with funds which are held for children until they reach an age specified by you.

Another type of testamentary trust is where funds are held in perpetuity (where there is no end date to the trust and it could potentially last forever) to provide educational scholarships or grants to charitable organisations.