The concept of a trust dates back to the Middle Ages in England, but the first recorded use of a trust in a legal context was in 1535, during the reign of King Henry VIII. The trust was used as a means of transferring land from one person to another, while allowing the original owner to retain control and benefit from the land during their lifetime.
The use of trusts continued to evolve over the centuries, and by the 19th century, trusts had become a widely used tool for managing and transferring assets, particularly among the wealthy. Today, trusts are used for a variety of purposes, including estate planning, asset protection, and charitable giving, and are a common feature of many legal systems around the world.
So, what are the main types of trust in the UK and what are their key uses? Read on to find out:
A bare trust, also known as a simple trust, is the simplest form of trust in the UK. In a bare trust, the beneficiary has an absolute right to the assets held in the trust, and the trustee has no discretion over how the assets are managed or distributed. Bare trusts are often used to transfer assets to minors, as the beneficiary will receive the assets when they reach a certain age.
A discretionary trust gives the trustee discretion over how the assets are managed and distributed. The beneficiaries of a discretionary trust do not have a right to the assets held in the trust, but may receive distributions at the discretion of the trustee. Discretionary trusts are often used for tax planning purposes, as they can be structured in a way that minimizes tax liabilities.
Interest in Possession Trusts
An interest in possession trust is a trust where the beneficiary has a right to the income generated by the assets held in the trust, but not the assets themselves. The beneficiary is said to have an “interest in possession” of the trust. Interest in possession trusts are often used in estate planning, as they allow the settlor to provide for a spouse or other beneficiary during their lifetime, while ensuring that the assets are ultimately passed on to other beneficiaries.
A mixed trust is a combination of a discretionary trust and an interest in possession trust. The trustee has discretion over how the assets are managed and distributed, but the beneficiary also has a right to the income generated by the assets held in the trust. Mixed trusts are often used for tax planning purposes, as they can provide a balance between flexibility and tax efficiency.
Charitable trusts are trusts that are established for charitable purposes. Charitable trusts are often used to support a specific cause or organization, and can provide tax benefits for the settlor. Charitable trusts are subject to special legal requirements and regulations, and are overseen by the Charity Commission.
Life Interest Trusts
A life interest trust is a trust where the beneficiary has a right to the income generated by the assets held in the trust, but not the assets themselves, for the duration of their lifetime. After the beneficiary’s death, the assets are typically passed on to other beneficiaries. Life interest trusts are often used in estate planning to provide for a spouse or other beneficiary during their lifetime, while ensuring that the assets are ultimately passed on to other beneficiaries.
Protective trusts are trusts that are established to protect the assets of vulnerable beneficiaries, such as minors or individuals with disabilities. The trustee has discretion over how the assets are managed and distributed, but must act in the best interests of the beneficiary. Protective trusts can provide a way to ensure that vulnerable beneficiaries are provided for, while protecting their assets from misuse or exploitation.
In conclusion, trusts are a versatile tool for managing and transferring assets in the UK. There are many different types of trusts available, each with their own specific uses and benefits. By carefully considering the objectives and circumstances of the settlor, it is possible to create a trust that meets their needs and achieves their goals. It is recommended that professional advice is sought before establishing a trust, to ensure that it is structured and managed correctly in accordance with UK law.