Special considerations for assets held in trust
Special considerations for assets held in trust

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Special considerations for assets held in trust
  • General principles
  • Nuptial settlements
  • Procedure and joinder of parties

This Practice Note provides an overview of the courts' general approach to assets held in trust within proceedings, including the variation of nuptial settlements and practical considerations such as joining the trustees as third parties to the proceedings. For further detailed practical guidance on trusts within family proceedings, see Practice Notes:

  1. Introduction to trusts within financial proceedings

  2. Trusts—variation of a nuptial settlement

  3. Trusts—trustees in financial proceedings

  4. Trusts—using trusts or property law in financial proceedings

  5. Trusts in financial proceedings—evidence and procedure, and

  6. Trusts within financial proceedings—enforcement

General principles

If a party to a marriage/civil partnership is a beneficiary under a trust and entitled to receive income or capital from it, that income or capital may be regarded as a financial resource of that party and be taken into account by the court. The court's approach will depend on the type of trust involved and the reasons why it was set up. See also Practice Note: The assets of the parties.

Most trusts are set up for genuine reasons, such as saving tax or protecting family wealth for future generations (dynastic trusts). If a party is a beneficiary of such a trust, any receipts that beneficiary has from the trust may be regarded as income or future possible capital and be taken into account as financial resources. In contrast, if a trust has