Creation of trusts—beneficiaries

The following Private Client practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Creation of trusts—beneficiaries
  • Who may be beneficiaries
  • Identifying the beneficiaries
  • The three certainties
  • Certainty of objects—named beneficiaries
  • Certainty of objects—description of beneficiaries
  • Age of beneficiaries
  • Class closing date
  • Identification by relationship
  • Child
  • More...

Creation of trusts—beneficiaries

Who may be beneficiaries

Every person who would be capable of owning property if of full age and sound mind may be a beneficiary under a trust, even if they are not of full age and sound mind.

Identifying the beneficiaries

The three certainties

For a trust to exist the three certainties must be present:

  1. certainty of intention

  2. certainty of subject-matter

  3. certainty of objects

Charitable trusts do not need to satisfy certainty of objects so long as there is a general charitable intention.

Certainty of objects—named beneficiaries

Every trust deed must identify the beneficiaries. In the case of a simple life interest trust, there will be only a small number of beneficiaries and they may be named in the clause setting out the beneficial interests. For example:

'The Trustees shall pay the income of the Trust Fund to [X] during [his] life and after [his] death shall pay the capital to [Y].'

The beneficiaries may be defined in the definitions clause and then referred to by reference to that definition. For example:

'The Trustees shall pay the income of the Trust Fund to the Life Tenant during [his] life and after [his] death shall pay the capital to the Remainderman.'

Where only named beneficiaries are to benefit, the objects are certain.

Certainty of objects—description of beneficiaries

Where the class of beneficiaries includes unborn or unascertained individuals, it is not possible to name the beneficiaries; instead,

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