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Trusts and their tax treatment

Sue Moore looks at the history of trusts, dating back to the 12th century; the present, possession trusts and discretionary trusts; and where trusts and their tax treatment might end up in future.

EditorialI fell in love with trusts when I was training to be a chartered accountant. They were the jobs you did in the office in the summer when there were no audits. The trusts had leather-bound nominal ledgers and, even as a trainee, it was possible to do a complete job from source document to accounts and tax return, which I think is why I initially found them so satisfying.

I used to read the trust deeds and work out what type of trust it was; there were often side letters that gave an insight to the settlor’s intentions. There were many trusts set up in contemplation of marriage and I recall one will trust where the testator said he had made no provision for his wife as she had already drunk enough of his money in his lifetime.