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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates: no valid will - statutory trust

The rules of intestacy can provide for assets to be held in a ‘statutory trust’ (a ‘trust for sale’ TSEM6123). Most commonly, it occurs where the assets exceed a fixed sum (set by statute), and the deceased left a widow and issue.

The widow is entitled to the fixed sum. Half of the excess is held on a statutory trust. The widow receives the income of this trust for life. This is an ‘interest in possession’ (TSEM1105). After her death the assets are held for the issue as for the other half. The other half share is held on ‘statutory trusts’ for the issue.

Under the ‘statutory trusts’, each child receives a share of the assets on reaching the age of majority (TSEM6125) or on marriage if that is earlier. This creates an accumulation and maintenance trust (TSEM1025).

If a child dies before becoming entitled to a share, that share passes to any other child(ren) on the same basis.


  • there is no issue or
  • they fail to survive to majority or earlier marriage

this share passes as if the deceased died without leaving issue.

These rules do not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland (TSEM7842 and TSEM7862).