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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates: definition of a trust

There is no legal definition of ‘trust’. A trust is not a legal person; it is a relationship. The persons in the trust relationship are:

  • settlor
  • trustees
  • beneficiaries

The settlor provides the property for the trust. The trustees hold the trust property in their name, but it is held not for them but on trust for the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries benefit from the trust property - exactly how they do so depends on the terms of the trust.