Mariah Carey and James Packer – third time lucky?

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Earlier this week, Mariah Carey and James Packer reportedly got engaged which caused a stir in the media for the second time this month, Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall being the cause of the first controversial announcement. Undoubtedly, this added to a large amount of work for their professional advisers identifying any and all probable outcomes which may be caused by such a high profile marriage.  

The wedding, if and when it goes ahead, will be the third for both Mariah Carey and James Packer who have children from previous marriages, Mariah has two and James has three.

To say that family’s affairs will become fairly complex, will be an understatement. Mariah Carey’s wealth has been noted to be around $500million but this amount is still a little way off Packer’s estimated £4.5 billion empire as estimated by Forbes last year. It has been reported in the media that a large proportion of the Packer family fortune is controlled by an offshore holding company, the beneficiaries of which are various Packer family trusts.  

When a trust is created in the UK, it is common practice to give the trustees power to add beneficiaries throughout the life of the trust. This allows the trustees some flexibility to adapt to our ever changing modern lives with multiple family interests. The trustees can also be granted a power to remove beneficiaries at their discretion, but the exercise of such power must be carefully considered and not used without obtaining legal advice.  

You don’t need to be a multi-millionaire in order to set up a trust to protect family's assets such as the house. In fact, one of the many reasons why couples should consider creating a trust is second marriage families. As an example a trust created over matrimonial assets in a Will gives security and protection to the surviving spouse who can benefit for the rest of his or her life while the capital is preserved for the children from the first marriage.      

For Mariah Carey’s two children from her marriage to actor Nick Cannon, it is unlikely that the class of beneficiaries would be expanded to include them as potential beneficiaries of the Packer trusts. In fact, a pre-nuptial agreement has been mooted in the press but this is a topic for another article altogether.

If you are considering setting up a family trust, or making changes to an existing trust due to family circumstances, Blake Morgan can help you. We can advise on different types of trust structures and their suitability to your circumstances, who the beneficiaries should be and how to make the trust work as a long term solution for your family.