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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Conventional but bare trusts: payment at a particular age

The general rule in English law is that the presumption is that a gift in a will to someone at a particular age is contingent. Therefore a gift to P `if’, `when’, `in case’ or `provided’ he attains a specific age is at first sight contingent. The same applies to a gift to P `on’, `upon’, `at’ or `from and after’ the attainment of a particular age.

This presumption is reversed and it is regarded as a vested gift with payment postponed if there is a specific direction in the will to pay to X the whole of the income, or such part as the trustees consider fit. Therefore X would be absolutely entitled, or absolutely entitled but for being an infant.

But it can be difficult to distinguish a contingent gift from one which is vested but with payment deferred to a specified age. It is basically a question of determining the intentions of the testator from the terms of the will. You should exercise caution in challenging the interpretation of a trust deed on this particular point which is accepted by both the trustees and the beneficiaries.