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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Trusts: definition: beneficiaries

There must generally be one or more BENEFICIARIES. Their interests may be of manydifferent kinds. They may be entitled to all of the income from the property, or a shareof it, for their life or until they reach a particular age. Others may be entitled to theproperty, or a share of it, after the death of an income beneficiary, or when they reach aparticular age.

There may be a number of beneficiaries who are merely entitled to share the income of theyear in whatever shares the trustees determine (DISCRETIONARY BENEFICIARIES). If there areno present or future beneficiaries then the property goes back to the settlor. If thereare no income beneficiaries and the trustees have no power to accumulate the income, it ispayable to the settlor.

In certain cases specific beneficiaries are not required. In the case of a charitabletrust it is unusual for there to be identified beneficiaries. In England & Wales theCharity Commissioners are responsible for ensuring that a charitable trust is properlyoperated. In Scotland this is the responsibility of HMRC. In Scotland, but not England,Wales or Northern Ireland, it is also possible for there to be trusts for the benefit ofthe public which are not charitable.

The settlor may be one of the trustees. In some cases he or she may be a beneficiary.