Termination of trusts—methods of termination

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

  • Termination of trusts—methods of termination
  • Duration of a trust
  • Ways a trust may come to an end
  • Revocation
  • Setting aside
  • The passing of time
  • Rule of construction
  • The rule in Andrews v Partington
  • The rule in Lassence v Tierney
  • Bankruptcy of the settlor
  • More...

Termination of trusts—methods of termination

Duration of a trust

The duration of an express trust is subject to the restrictions imposed by the rules against remoteness of vesting and against the creation of trusts of perpetual or indefinite duration otherwise than for charitable purposes, and by the statutory restrictions on accumulations of income.

The Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009 significantly amended the rule against perpetuities and abolished the restrictions on accumulations in respect of instruments taking effect on or after 6 April 2010. However, practitioners must still have regard to the common law rules and the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 1964 in certain cases.

See Practice Note: Perpetuities and accumulations.

Ways a trust may come to an end

An express trust, after it has become operative, may come to an end in a number of ways, for example:

  1. action taken by the trustees, the settlor, the beneficiaries or a third party—the action may be by virtue of a power conferred by the trust instrument or it may require an application to the court

  2. as a result of particular events occurring, eg the subsequent failure or satisfaction of the purposes of the trust, or the cessation of particular circumstances for which the trust was created


Where an express trust is completely constituted, it is generally binding and irrevocable whether or not it was constituted or declared for valuable consideration. If the trust

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