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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Absolute entitlement: exercise of power to advance or appoint capital

A beneficiary may become absolutely entitled as against the trustees on the following occasions.

a) The trustees (or possibly another named person) exercise an express power in the trust instrument authorising them to pay capital to some person who would not otherwise be entitled to capital at all or to a beneficiary who would not otherwise be immediately entitled. This is more common in a discretionary trust but in certain cases may be used to override an existing interest.
b) The trustees exercise their powers under Section 32 Trustee Act 1925 (the statutory power of advancement for England and Wales) which permits trustees (at their discretion but subject to any specific provisions of the trust instrument and the approval of a beneficiary with a prior interest) to pay or apply one half of a beneficiary’s presumptive or vested share for his or her `advancement’ or benefit. `Advancement’ for this purpose means some step for furtherance of the beneficiary’s establishment in life (for example, for education or training or for establishment in business), while benefit has a wider meaning and may include a payment made direct to the beneficiary, for example, a payment to discharge his debts. In many cases the deed authorises payment of the full share instead of limiting it to the statutory one half.