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What makes a trust a valid trust?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

It is not unusual for people to wonder what a trust even is or what they do.

A trust is used by many individuals to control how their assets are managed either during their lifetime or after their death, depending on what type of trust is created.

Once a trust has been created, the creator called a “Settlor,” transfers ownership of certain specified property and financial assets to the trust for the benefit of others, called “beneficiaries.”

The assets in the trust are then managed by the “Trustees,” appointed by the Settlor. Typically, a trust can be part of the estate planning process, protecting the Settlor’s assets while he/she is still alive, and dictates how the assets will be distributed upon the Settlor’s death.


A Trust needs 3 things or ‘certainties’ to be valid;

  1. Certainty of Intention – the settlor has to show a clear intention to create a trust;
  2. Certainty of Subject Matter – must be certain what property is to be subject to the trusts and what part or share of the property each beneficiary is entitled to;
  3. Certainty of Objects – a trust must state who the beneficiaries are who are to receive the assets of the trust.

Without one of these certainties, the trust could be invalid/void.

If a trust has been properly drafted, these 3 certainties will have been incorporated and substitute provisions taking into account foreseeable circumstances will have been provided for.

It is extremely important to seek independent legal advice concerning trusts as it is very important to ensure that they are created properly, to avoid any issues arising in the future when you are no longer around, and to ensure that your property is passed in accordance with your wishes.

If you are looking to create a trust or need advice about a trust that has been previously created, you can speak to our Private Client team at Wilson Browne Solicitors.

Hannah Bayliss


Hannah Bayliss

Trainee Solicitor

Hannah is a Trainee Solicitor in the Commercial Property team in our Corby office. She previously gained experience working in the Commercial Litigation team and also during her University Placement in the Clinical Negligence team as a Paralegal.