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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates: what a trust needs

A trust needs a

  • settlor
  • corpus (trust fund) - the settled property
  • beneficiary
  • trustee.

It also needs certainties of

  • words - a clear indication that a trust is being set up
  • subject matter - the property that has been settled
  • object - who is the beneficiary.

If the trust does not contain these three certainties, it is invalid. The transferred property is held on a resulting trust for the settlor.