Skip to main content

Default beneficiaries set up in the settlor’s lifetime.

Flexible Trusts are similar to a fully Discretionary Trust, except that alongside a wide class of potential beneficiaries, there must be at least one named default beneficiary. Flexible Trusts with default beneficiaries set up in the settlor’s lifetime from 22 March 2006 onwards are treated in exactly the same way as Discretionary Trusts for Inheritance Tax purposes.

Different Inheritance Tax rules apply to older trusts set up by 21 March 2006 that meet specified criteria and some Will trusts. All post-21 March 2006 lifetime trusts of this type are taxed in the same way as fully Discretionary Trusts for Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax purposes.

Default beneficiary
For Income Tax purposes, any income is payable to and taxable on the default beneficiary. However, this doesn’t apply to even regular withdrawals from investment bonds, which are non-income-producing assets. Bond withdrawals are capital payments, even though chargeable event gains are subject to Income Tax. As with Bare Trusts, the parental settlement rules apply if parents make gifts into trust for their minor children or stepchildren.

Significant differences
When it comes to beneficiaries and control, there are no significant differences between fully Discretionary Trusts and this type of trust. There will be a wide range of potential beneficiaries. In addition, there will be one or more named default beneficiaries.

Naming a default beneficiary is no more binding on the trustees than providing a letter of wishes setting out whom the settlor would like to benefit from the trust fund. The trustees still have discretion over which of the default and potential beneficiaries actually benefits and when. Some older Flexible Trusts limit the trustees’ discretionary powers to within two years of the settlor’s death, but this is no longer a common feature of this type of trust.

If you have any questions about this article please get in touch via our contact form or if you would like to speak directly to one of our advisors please don’t hesitate to contact Waverton Wealth Director & Chartered Financial Planner, Scott Snedden.

You are now leaving Waverton Wealth

Waverton Wealth provides links to websites of other organizations in order to provide visitors with certain information. A link does not constitute an endorsement of content, viewpoint, policies, products or services of that website. Once you link to another website not maintained by Waverton Wealth, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that web site, including but not limited to its privacy policy.

You will be redirected to

Click the link above to continue or CANCEL