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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates: administrators give assent

When administrators have

  • brought together the assets in their hands
  • paid the debts of the deceased
  • found out what is left
  • satisfied themselves about a beneficiary’s entitlement

they ‘assent’ to a beneficiary’s entitlement. Sometimes they assent to the residue being held in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

‘Assent’ establishes the beneficiary’s title. It confirms the debt owed to the beneficiary. The beneficiary has become the owner, even if not immediately taking possession.

If the asset is real property, personal representatives must give assent in writing. The assent then acts as a conveyance. Written assent is not essential if the asset is an equitable interest in land. However it is better if all assent is written. This establishes the date the beneficiary became the legal owner. An assent in favour of a residuary legatee may normally be inferred at the date of the ascertainment of residue (CG30900). External customers can find this guidance at .