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    Trust set up (individual trust - start to finish)

    This article will guide you through the start to finish process of manually setting up a new trust profile in Connectworks. Trust profiles can also be imported in bulk or imported directly from XPM. If you have a large number of trusts to set up these methods may be more time efficient. However the method outlined below has the benefit of ensuring a high quality profile is created from the outset.

    1. Things to prepare before setting up a trust

    To speed up the process of setting up an individual trust in Connectworks it’s a good idea to compile key information in one place. Refer to the original trust deed (and any variations to the deed) to gather the information. 

    If you have a large number of trusts we suggest using our bulk import service. See more here: Bulk Importing Client Data

    The excel template below covers the key information you'll require during set up of an individual trust and is available to download and complete for each trust. Just click the link below to download a copy.

    Missing details can still be added directly into the trust once it has been loaded in Connectworks, but having this information prepared prior will speed up the set up process dramatically.

    Download Trust Information Template

    Trust Information Template (manual loading).xlsx

    2. Ensure corporate trustee companies are set up

    If they are not already loaded in Connectworks, you should  set up your corporate trustee companies using one of the methods outlined in the article Setting up corporate trustee companies, so that it is available to be assigned as a trustee in the next steps. 

    3. Set up the trust profile

    1. Go to Clients tab.

    2. Select the “I would like to” button and Add new trust

    2. On the Create a trust form use your Trust Information Template (completed during step 1. Things to prepare before setting up your trust) to enter as much detail as you can about the trust.

    Be sure to select a subscription plan for the trust, or you will not be able to proceed from this step. If unsure please see our article on Trust Subscription Plans & Pricing.  


    Entering the settlement date (the date the trust was founded) during this step will save a lot of manual data entry. 

    The settlement date will auto-complete the appointment date of all beneficiaries, trustees etc. In most cases this is correct and means only later appointed trustees/beneficiaries will require updating. If the settlement date is left blank it will default to the date of set up, and all people associated with the trust will require manual updating.

    3. It is good practice to change the Set Up Status to Preparing. This creates a flag in the overall clients list, allowing other staff to easily filter for and identify trusts which may be incomplete. Later you can update this status to: 

    • Review for a manager to check
    • Attention or Alert for missing information
    • Set up complete when you are satisfied all information has been added to the profile. This will remove the flag from the clients list.

    5. After completing the Create a trust form with as much detail as possible select the “Create” button in the top right corner. 

    6. After creating the profile you will be directed back to your clients gallery, where the trust will be displayed. Click on the trust name to access its workspace and create profiles for the people associated to the trust.

    You can edit key details about the trust at any time by selecting “Edit Trust Profile” in the top right.

    4. Where to add associated parties (trustees, beneficiaries etc.)

    1. In your firm workspace navigate to the Clients tab then select the name of the trust from your client list to enter into the Trust workspace.

    2. Click on the trust's Parties tab.

    3. Click on "I would like to..." in the top right corner and select from the drop down menu:

    • Add person
    • Add company/organisation
    • Add trust

              4a. Add a Person

    1. In the Add person form, search for the person's name using the search your contacts function. 

    If the person appears in this search simply select the "add associated party" button from the list and continue completing the subsequent form.

    2. If the person does not appear in the existing client or contact search, select the "Add new instead button" and complete their details on the subsequent form.


              4b. Add a Company or Organisation

    1. In the Add company form, search for the company using the search your contacts function. 

    If the company appears in this search simply select the "add associated party" button from the list and continue completing the subsequent form.

    Note in the image below there are two copies of the same company. If you see duplicates like this, always select the version which displays Nature: Client

    Do not add companies displaying Nature: Contact - instead follow step 2 below.

    2. If the company does not appear when searched for, or is displaying as displaying Nature: Contact, we strongly recommend reviewing our article on setting up corporate trustee companies and importing the company from the Companies Office (regardless of whether your firm is responsible for its management).


    Corporate trustee companies are free subscriptions in Connectworks when there is an associated trust loaded, and importing it from the Companies Office will make the directorship, addresses and current shareholding information available for contact, document signing and AML compliance purposes.


    After importing the company return to the trust workspace and add them as an association using the search search your contacts option, then proceed with assigning their role/s within the trust.


    3. International companies, advisors to the trust, or companies you do not wish to import can have their details manually set up using the "Add new instead" button and completing the details on the subsequent form.

              4c. Add another Trust

    1. In the Add trust form, search for the name of the trust using the search your contacts function. If the trust appears in this search simply select the "add associated party" button from the list and continue completing the fields.

    2. If the trust does not appear when searched for, but it is a client of your firm (or likely to become one) we recommend loading the trust into Connectworks first and then using the search your contacts function to correctly link the entities. This is important if you intend to use Connectworks for digital signing or AML compliance.

    3. If you do not wish to load the trust you can manually enter the details by selecting "Add new instead button" and completing the trusts details on the subsequent form. 

    5. Retiring historical associations

    This article describes how to retire a trustee or beneficiary from a trust, as well as how to remove access for any associated parties who have been invited into the trust's workspace.

    Retiring the role

    1. Open the Trust and click on Parties. 

    2. To the right of the name of the the trustee you will be retiring select edit.

    3. Click on Roles tab of the edit form and place a tick on Remove as Trustee or Remove as Beneficiary

    4. Select the Date of removal and click "Update". 

    In this example, the trustee retirement date is 12 Feb 2019:


    Removing Access

    Next, if the associated party has been invited to access the trust profile but no longer requires/should have access to the trust:

    1. Navigate to the Access Rights tab of the Update association form.

    2. Click on the drop-down menu and select No access.

    3. Click "Update and Close". 

    NB. After retiring a trustee/beneficiary and removing access, the individual will be removed from the default list of associated parties, but will be retained as a historical association that can be reviewed using the No Access filter in the Parties tab. The retired party's role/s & dates will now show in the slide out panel when selected.

    6. Upload historical documents


    1. Uploading documents

    2. Bulk uploading documents

    3. Editing document details

    In a Trust Workspace the Documents tab is the repository for all the trust’s documents. 


    Uploading documents

    You can upload documents into the document repository by clicking the "I would like to…" drop-down.

    • If the document is still in draft, or is a new document which needs to be distributed for signing, select the Upload a document option.
    • If the document is already signed or relates to past activity use the Upload a document (historical)
    • You can also to choose to auto-generate documents from Connectworks precedents here. Learn more about precedents here.

      You can then search for (or drag and drop) the document into the upload screen, and record the name, type, signing date, apply document category tags and add other details for the document.

    Adding category tags is important as they will make documents easier to filter & search for later. Certain tags will also automatically display documents in relevant locations, for example applying the "Minutes" tag will display these documents in the minute book.

    Please note - Documents cannot be dragged directly from an email attachment, to successfully upload a document it must first be saved to your computers hard drive.

    Bulk uploading documents

    You can upload multiple documents simultaneously by clicking the "I would like to..." drop-down and selection the Bulk upload documents option.

    Note that when uploading documents in bulk and selected category tags will be applied to all the documents. The document file names also cannot be changed in the bulk uploading process, meaning the documents will be titled according to the files being uploaded. If required, you can edit the category tags, document name and other details once the document is uploaded.

    Editing document details
    To edit the details for a document (such as document name, adding category tags, additional notes, or setting confidentiality status) simply navigate to the documents list.

    1. Select the tick box of the desired document.

    2. Click on the Cogs.

    3. Click on edit.

    7. Update the trust ledger

    The assets and liabilities ledger in Connectworks is a suite of features for recording financial transactions performed by a trust. This article gives a general overview of the Assets & Liabilities ledger, including key terminology.

    Detailed user guides for the Assets & Liabilities Ledger can be found in our knowledgebase here.



    1. How to access the assets and liabilities ledger

    2. Glossary

    3. Accounts

    4. Account movements

    5. Transactions

    6. Reports


    How to access the assets and liabilities ledger

    1. Navigate to the relevant trust in your Clients>Trusts tab and click on the trust name to enter the trust's main workspace. 

    2. On the left-hand column click on the Ledger tab. 


    • Account - repository which funds may move into or out of.

    • Account movement - movement of funds from one Account to another.

    • Transaction - records an activity, involving two or more balancing Account movements. 

    • Journal - a collection of records.


    An Account is a repository that funds may move into or out of. In this sense, an Account may be:

    • A bank Account out of which the trust makes payments, or into which the trust receives income.

    • A loan Account, recording a loan the trust has received from a bank or other party.

    • A distribution Account, recording the distributions that have been made to a particular beneficiary.

    • A non-current asset, like a house, boat, or other trust property. These are treated as accounts into which funds of the trust have been moved.

    • An income or expense category, allowing all income or expenses relating to a particular source to be tracked.

    • A suspense Account, for recording any movement of funds that has not been allocated to another Account.

    The Accounts>Chart of Accounts tab displays all Accounts that have been created for the trust. Accounts are grouped into categories, which you can then use as filters to review specific Account types (eg. expenses or distributions).

    The suspense Account

    A general ledger Journal is required to be balanced, meaning that all the Account movements declared must sum to zero. eg. When recording an expense, one debits an Account representing where the money came from (such as a bank Account or loan Account) while crediting an expense Account.

    A challenge Connectworks faces is that some systems are not balanced, and simply record that the Trust has acquired an asset without recognition of how it came about acquiring that asset. Without this traceability, formulating a set of accounts or tracing gifting can be challenging. The traditional approach is to balance these movements against a suspense Account for later reconciliation. The suspense Account acts as a placeholder for movements in funds that can be dealt with at a later date (and at the very least, remain identifiable).

    Account movements

    An Account movement is a movement of funds into or out of an Account e.g. when purchasing a property, funds are moved out of one Account (a bank Account, suspense Account, or other Account containing funds) into an Account representing the property. 

    The Accounts>Account Movements tab provides a full overview of all movements between the accounts you have set up. Again these movements can have filters applied to view the list by either Account categories, specific accounts or dates.

    Account movements can be viewed in two ways:

    1. Via the Accounts>Account movements tab (which lists all movements chronologically)

    2. via locating the Transaction that the movement was a part of:
    A movement into or out of one Account is balanced by a corresponding and opposite movement into or out of another Account. In this sense, all movements sum to zero. The Transaction gallery shows every movement that has been recorded.


    Transactions record the financial activities that trusts engage in. Connectworks supports the below types of common trust Transaction, just click the links if you would like more details on how to record these Transaction types.

    Asset Transactions

    Asset acquisition
    The most common method by which a Trust comes to acquire an asset is via the asset being gifted into the Trust during the settlement of the trust. This involves some party (usually the settlors of the trust) lending money to the trust, which the trust acknowledges by completing a deed of acknowledgement of debt.

    After receiving the loan, the trust uses the funds to purchase an asset. Often, the asset will be owned by the settlors (for example, the settlor’s home). The settlors then periodically forgive the debt owed to them by the trust. In this way, ownership of the asset comes to be transferred from the settlors to the trust.

    Trusts may also purchase assets via traditional methods. In reality, this involves moving funds from an Account owned the by trust (as the buyer) to an Account owned by the seller. This movement is balanced by transferring ownership of the asset from the seller to the buyer. Often, however, a professional trust manager may not wish to specify the accounts involved in the purchase but simply wishes to record that the purchase occurred. Here the movements can be recorded against the trust’s suspense Account.

    Asset sales
    Trusts can dispose of assets via traditional sale. Sales can be in whole or in part. The same principles as described regarding transfers of funds apply in cases of asset disposals.

    Asset capital additions
    Capital additions include things such as renovations or improvements to a property or other asset, purchasing additional shares in a company, or contributions to a PIE fund investment.

    Asset revaluations
    The value of any asset may change over time. 

    Debt, gifting and loan transactions 

    Loans to the trust (Acknowledge debt)
    A trust may receive loans of funds from a bank or non-bank debt facilities. Bank loans are generally received in order to allow some asset to be acquired (e.g. a mortgage to purchase a house). A non-bank debt facility is any third-party that is not a bank. The most common third party is the settlors of the trust, though in principle it can be anyone. These loans are also received in order to facilitate the purchasing of assets.

    Bank loans must be repaid, and (depending on the terms of the loan) loans from non-bank debt facilities may require to be repaid. However, as described above (and again subject to the terms of the loan), loans made by non-bank debt facilities can be forgiven.

    Loans from the trust (Advance loan)
    A trust may loan money to any party it chooses.

    Loan repayments to the trust (Recover loan)
    Where a trust has extended a loan, the party receiving the loan may be required to repay it. Repayment can be made in whole or in part. 

    Loan repayments from the trust (Repay loan)
    As described above, bank loans must be repaid, and (depending on the terms of the loan) loans from non-bank debt facilities may require to be repaid. However, as described above (and again subject to the terms of the loan), loans made by non-bank debt facilities can be forgiven.  

    Forgive debt (gifting)
    Where a third-party has extended a loan to a trust, the third party may choose from time to time to forgive the loan, in whole or in part. This forgiveness is performed via the third party completing a deed of forgiveness of debt. Connectworks has various precedents available to generate the required documents for gifting.


    Capital & asset distributions
    A trust may distribute assets to any beneficiary of the trust. This involves a simple movement from an Account representing an asset of the trust, to an Account representing the particular beneficiary. The beneficiary Account accumulates the total distributions made to that beneficiary over time. Capital distributions follow the same principles as per asset distributions, it simply that a capital distribution stipulates that the asset being distributed is capital (cash). 

    Income distributions
    Income distributions follow the same principles as per capital distributions, it simply being that an income distribution stipulates that the capital being distributed was acquired as income of the trust. (There is also an additional difference in how tax is treated. Where income is distributed, all income tax requirements ‘look through’ the trust, and fall instead on the beneficiary.)

    Income & expenses

    Record income
    A trust may own an income-generating asset (for example, a rental property). When recording income, one debits an income category Account representing where the money came from (the income source) while crediting a bank Account. The income category Account accumulates the total payments made against the income category.

    Record expense
    Any Transaction may involve additional expenses being incurred, beyond the drawdown of funds involved in the core activity described by the Transaction. When recording an expense, one debits an Account representing where the money came from (such as a bank Account or loan Account) while crediting an expense Account (that accumulates the total payments made against the expense category represented by that Account). 

    Account transactions 

    Transfers between accounts
    Funds may be transferred between accounts, outside of any specific activity or Transaction (e.g. as a bank transfer between the trust’s bank accounts).

    Account opening balances

    Because all transactions must be balanced, the opening of a new Account (where that Account has an opening balance) must be balanced by a corresponding Account movement. In Connectworks, the opening balance of an Account is balanced via a debit to the trust’s suspense Account. 


    A variety of reports are available to download from the Reports tab.

    Place a tick on the type of report you would like to download on the left-hand side of the page
    Click on the "I would like to..." and select the Export results button to download a .csv (excel) file. 

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