Transferring trust assets—interests in land

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

  • Transferring trust assets—interests in land
  • Transferring assets to a trust
  • Transferring assets when trustees change
  • Express transfer
  • Automatic vesting
  • Transferring assets out of a trust
  • Methods of transfer
  • Legal estates in land
  • Equitable interests
  • Land Registration
  • More...

Transferring trust assets—interests in land

Note that this Practice Note deals only with trust assets comprising an interest in land.

Transferring assets to a trust

Assets will be transferred to a trust when:

  1. the trust is created, or

  2. the settlor adds new assets to the trust, or

  3. the trustees buy new assets or settle trust assets on new trusts

A trust can be created either by will, or by a lifetime disposition. This can be by a self-declaration of trust by the current owner of the interest in the land ‘manifested and proved by some writing’ (section 53(1)(b) of the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925)) or a transfer of those assets, to trustees to hold on trust, in writing signed by a person who is able to declare such a trust.

For the formal requirements of transferring such interests under a lifetime disposition, see methods of transfer below.

Transferring assets when trustees change

When trustees change, title to the trust assets can pass from the prior trustees to the current trustees:

  1. by an express transfer

  2. as the result of automatic vesting (in those cases where statute provides for this)

Express transfer

For the form of transfer, see methods of transfer below.

The need to transfer the trust assets is sometimes overlooked, especially where the trusteeship is incidental to an ongoing activity (eg where title to a club’s premises are held by

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