+44 7393 450837
Follow on

What Is A Bare Trust

The article talks about what a basic trust is, what it is made of, how it is set up, what its pros and cons are, and how it is different from other types of trusts. This article will also discuss its significance in your wealth strategy for effective asset management.

Trusts play a significant part in allowing the orderly transfer of wealth to intended heirs and, as a result, ensuring that the bequest will be distributed in the manner that the testator had desired. 

In addition, there are a few other kinds of trusts that can be established during a person’s lifetime in order to provide financial support to family members and friends for things like medical and educational costs, among other things.

During the process of establishing a trust, it is wise to seek the advice of an experienced professional.

However, getting a comprehension of the fundamental workings of a trust can function as a first step toward properly administering one’s personal assets for the benefit of one’s cherished folks and can serve as an initial step in the administration of a trust.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use these contact options.

What is a Bare Trust?

A bare trust is a fundamental type of trust in which the beneficiary is granted full and unrestricted access to both the principal and assets held inside the trust, in addition to the income earned from those assets.

The legal ownership of the assets held in trust is maintained by a trustee, who is also charged with the responsibility of prudently managing these assets in order to maximize the benefits that are accrued to the beneficiaries.

This is in accordance with the authorized instructions that are provided either by the beneficiaries themselves or by the person who established the trust.

Despite this, the trustee does not have the ability to choose how or when the trust’s principal or revenues will be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Bare Trust

The use of bare trusts, which are also known as simple trusts or bare trusts, is a frequent practice among parents and grandparents who wish to pass assets to their children, grandchildren, or other lineal descendants.

Beneficiaries of bare trusts are given the authority to choose when they want to retrieve assets from the trust, as long as they are at least 18 years old in the United Kingdom.

This authority is granted under the legislation that belongs to bare trusts. Beneficiaries of a bare trust have the freedom to use the trust’s capital as well as any income received from the trust in any manner that the beneficiaries judge to be suitable. 

Execution of a document that is legally enforceable, such as a deed of settlement or a declaration of trust, is required in order to form a bare trust.

This makes the process of establishing a bare trust much simpler. When reduced to its most fundamental form, a bare trust comprises the transfer of assets from the settlor to the trustee, which ultimately results in the trustee and the beneficiary holding joint ownership of the assets in question.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the trustee of a bare trust is not obligated to do anything and does not have any authority.

They act in accordance with the instructions provided by the beneficiary, which they follow in the letter.

There are significant differences between a bare trust and other types of trusts that can be established.

The beneficiary of a trust is the person who is responsible for paying taxes on the income that is generated from the assets of the trust.

This revenue includes interest, dividends, and rent. The fact that the beneficiary holds legal ownership of these assets gives rise to this tax burden.

Because tax regulations often give individuals precedence over trusts, the clause that was just discussed has the ability to bestow substantial financial advantages on beneficiaries who bring in relatively little income.

In their individual tax returns, the people who benefit from the trust would be required to report any income that was earned from the trust’s assets, in addition to any capital gains that were made that were greater than the annual exemption. 

The person who sets or creates the trust is referred to as the settlor, and they will be the ones who are responsible for paying this tax when it is imposed.

However, there is an exemption to this rule for situations in which the recipient is under the age of eighteen.

In the event that a grandmother creates a bare trust for the benefit of her newborn grandson, the grandmother will be required to pay any taxes that are due on the income generated by the trust assets.

This responsibility will remain in place until the newborn beneficiary reaches the age of 18 years old.

What is an Example of a Bare Trust

A bare trust is, to the broadest extent possible, a framework that enables parents and grandparents to effectively convey assets to their children and grandchildren.

The provision states that the trustee is the one who is responsible for the management of the trust up until the time that the beneficiary achieves the age of majority.

The idea of a bare trust covers restrictions that provide beneficiaries with the ability to select the time of their retrieval of trust assets, provided that they have acquired the age of eighteen.

This is contingent on the fact that the beneficiaries have reached the age of majority. As soon as a person reaches the required age, they are given full access to both the income and the principal of the trust, which enables them to make use of these resources in any way they see fit and frees them from any obligations.

The person who creates the trust must indicate the minimum age at which a beneficiary must be in order to be eligible to receive any of the trust’s assets.

This is referred to as a “bare trust.” On the other hand, if the person who established the trust dies before making any specific arrangements, and the person who is supposed to benefit from the trust is under the age of 18, the deceased person’s passing will result in the establishment of a bare trust for the intended recipient.

Before the beneficiary reaches the age of 18, the use of both the income and the principal that is derived from the trust is restricted only to the beneficiary’s welfare, and it cannot be allocated to any other person who is listed in the will. This is an important fact to keep in mind.

Assuming that John leaves a portion of his estate to his daughter in the form of a monetary bequest in his will, despite the fact that she has not yet reached the age when she can legally own property.

When the beneficiary achieves the age of majority in their state, often eighteen years old, the trustee removes the monies from the trust and distributes them to the beneficiary. 

The transfer of the assets to the daughter is contingent upon her reaching the age of 18, at which point she will have the autonomy to utilize the funds according to her own discretion and the cash will be transferred to her at that time.

Who Could Benefit from a Bare Trust

The capacity of a bare trust to legally withhold assets from a beneficiary who is under the age of 18 is one of the primary reasons that this type of trust is regarded as beneficial for minor beneficiaries.

The purpose of this rule is to protect youngsters from the consequences of their own immaturity. In addition, the tax treatment of bare trusts is more favourable when compared to the tax treatment of other trust structures.

It is common practice for grandparents to establish bare trusts in order to provide financial support for their grandchildren, particularly in circumstances in which the grandchildren do not yet possess the required level of maturity to take direct ownership of inherited property.

An example situation is the creation of a bank account in which the grandparents take on the responsibilities of trustees and serve as signatories for the account.

The grandparents have the choice of using the assets of the trust either to contribute financially to the children’s educational expenses or to provide for their general upkeep and welfare.

They also have the option of continuing to contribute to the trust until the child reaches the age of eighteen, at which point they will be able to access the monies held in the trust.

What is the Difference Between a Bare Trust and Other Trusts

A bare trust is distinguished from other types of trusts in that it possesses a unique set of qualities. It is normal practice for income to be produced from trust assets through channels such as dividends, rent, and interest.

This type of income is referred to as “trust income.” This income is taxable and is attributable to the legal owner of the assets, which, in this particular circumstance, is the recipient.

The legal owner of the assets is subject to taxation on the income. The beneficiary can receive favourable tax treatment as a result of the provision, particularly if they have a low income.

In comparison to trusts, the tax regulations that pertain to bare trusts frequently tend to be more favourable to beneficiaries.

In this scenario, people are required to disclose on their individual tax returns any income earned from capital gains and trust assets that is greater than the yearly exemption amount. 

This requirement applies only if the income exceeds the yearly exemption amount. The person who establishes or creates a trust is often the one who is responsible for paying taxes on the trust’s assets.

This is especially true in situations in which the trust’s beneficiary is a minor. Let’s pretend that a set of hypothetical circumstances exists in which a set of grandparents create a bare trust for the benefit of their young granddaughter.

The objective of this exercise is to provide an illustration. In the current situation, the tax liability that is caused by the income generated by the trust assets must be shouldered by the grandmother up until the time that the grandchild achieves the age of majority (18 years old).

How Do You Set Up a Bare Trust

Execution of a legally binding instrument, which is frequently referred to as a declaration of trust or a deed of settlement, is one method that can be used to establish a Bare Trust.

The act of an individual who owns a property proclaiming themselves as the trustee of said property, with the objective of providing benefits to the individuals who have been designated as beneficiaries is what is meant by the declaration of trust.

The transfer of property ownership from the original owner to a third party, with the provision that the third party would retain the property in trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries, is the subject of the deed of settlement, which is sometimes known as a bare trust deed.

This document deals with the transfer of property ownership. 

How to Determine if a Bare Trust has been Created?

The relationship between the principal and the agent in a bare trust can be conceptualized as a principal-agent relationship, with the agent holding legal ownership of the property while the principal continues to hold beneficial ownership.

As a consequence of this, the dynamics and obligations that exist within a bare trust relationship are governed by the legal framework of agency law.

To put it another way, the factors that determine whether or not parties have established an agency relationship also apply to the process of establishing a bare trust.

There are two separate paths that can lead to the formation of an agency relationship: To begin, it might emerge from an agreement reached between the principal and the agent.

This is one possible source. Either the agreement between the parties can be created officially, most commonly through a written agreement, or it can be deduced implicitly based on the behaviour or circumstances of the people involved.

In addition, it is conceivable for an agency relationship to be established retrospectively if the principal later accepts the activities that were carried out on their behalf in the capacity of the agent.

The mutual consent of the principal and the agent, the delegation of authority by the principal to the agent to have an effect on the principal’s legal standing, and the principal’s maintenance of control over the activities of the agent are the essential components of an agency relationship.

It is not required that the parties document their agency agreement in paper form. This can be done if they choose to.

The activities taken by each party individually will, in the absence of a written agency agreement, serve as the basis for determining whether or whether the parties intended to establish a link that would function as that of an agency.

The level of power that the putative principle supposedly possesses in relation to the purported agent is the most important quality to look for.

It is important to note that in the context of a relationship based on agency, the principal retains beneficial ownership over any property that comes under the purview of said connection. This is something that should be kept in mind.

Therefore, it is conceivable to establish a bare trust in circumstances when an agency relationship requires the agent to acquire the property of the principal.

This is one of the requirements for this type of trust. When the agent gets the property of the principal with the exclusive duty of executing the principal’s directions, the agent assumes the role of a bare trustee.

However, the principal continues to have all of the privileges that come along with beneficial ownership of the property.

These entitlements include the rights to consume, hold, transfer, create income from, and terminate the property.

Also included are entitlements to earn income from the property.

In contrast, if the purported agent is not required to adhere to the principal’s directives regarding the handling of the property, or if the purported agent possesses a significant amount of autonomy, discretion, and accountability in relation to the property, then the individual in question cannot be classified as either an agent or a bare trustee.

This is because the purported agent possesses substantial autonomy, discretion, and accountability in relation to the property.

Therefore, in the case that the parties have not documented their agreement, there are a few things that can be looked at to determine whether or not the parties have established a bare trust over a certain piece of property.

Bare Trust
The word “TRUST” on tiles.

To give one example, does the putative bare trustee administer the alleged trust property without the purported beneficiary’s explicit supervision or consent?

Does the person who is serving as the bare trustee stand to gain anything personally from the trust property at issue?

In order to find a solution to this problem, it will be necessary to conduct an exhaustive review of the contractual agreement that the parties concerned have entered into with one another, taking into account the fundamental principles that govern agency and bare-trust relationships.

It is highly recommended that anyone who is interested in establishing a bare trust or determining their status as a bare trustee consult with one of our trained Canadian tax specialists prior to taking any action.

When and Why You Might Want to Create a Bare Trust

In the case that a person finds themselves in a vulnerable position and wishes to keep their identity secret in regards to the ownership of a piece of property, they may decide to establish a bare trust as a means of effectively concealing this property from the general public.

This will allow them to maintain their anonymity. It is not common for there to be any stamp duty or capital gains tax incurred when real estate is transferred to a bare trustee.

In the context of carrying out a Title Search on a piece of real estate, it is essential to keep in mind that the individual’s name that is connected to the property may not be immediately accessible since it is encased within a non-disclosure agreement called a Bare Trust Deed.

This deed is a confidential piece of legal documentation.

In the event that one wishes to use real estate as a way of pleasantly surprising an individual with an acquisition or acquire a property on behalf of someone else, it is also feasible to use a Bare Trust as a means of acquiring the real estate and then maintaining it in trust for the intended beneficiary.

This would be the case in the event that one desired to procure a property on behalf of someone else.  

Pros and Cons of Bare Trusts

What are the Advantages of Bare Trusts?

The opportunity to avoid paying the property transfer tax (PTT) upon the ultimate sale of the property is a significant benefit that is linked with operating a bare trustee business.

This is an important advantage. After the sale is finalized, the new buyer will become the sole shareholder of the bare trustee corporation and inherit the property at the same time.

The buyer will pay one dollar for each share of the bare trustee firm that is being sold to them as part of the transaction.

There is currently no requirement to make a payment toward the property transfer tax because there has not been a change in ownership that has been recorded in the office that maintains the land titles at that point in time.

As a consequence of this, it is possible that the buyer and the seller will both come out on top as a result of this condition.

Because of the outcome, the seller could have to raise the price at which they offer their product, making it more enticing to customers who might be interested in purchasing it.

One extra benefit of utilizing a bare trust is the increased capacity for accommodating a larger range of individuals as property owners.

This is an advantage that is related to the use of a bare trust. Rather than having to register a new individual on the title of the property every time that person is added as a property owner, a more practical option would be to change the ownership of shares inside the bare trustee company.

This would eliminate the need to register a new individual on the title. This would make the process of bringing about such a transformation easier to manage.

The provision of a certain degree of anonymity is an additional advantage that this method offers.

This is made possible by the use of a bare trustee corporation, which takes on the role of the registered property owner in the state where the property is located.

In most cases, the trustee corporation is organized as a numbered entity. This allows the real beneficial owner of the property to remain hidden from view of the general public.

On the other hand, it is projected that this circumstance will go through a change in the not-too-distant future, specifically in the coming twelve to eighteen months.

It is likely that the government that is responsible for managing the bare trust will establish a transparency register in order to identify the real beneficial owner of the property that is kept within the bare trust.

What are the Disadvantages of Bare Trusts?

Although a Bare Trust is considered to be a simple sort of trust, it does have some restrictions due to the nature of the trust itself.

Trusts have a framework that is not very flexible, which means that the beneficiaries who were originally named cannot be changed after the trust has been established.

This is one of the most significant drawbacks associated with trusts. Because they would be unfairly barred from gaining any benefits derived from the assets held within the trust, the possible appearance of additional offspring or descendants after the trust was established may give rise to issues.

This is because they would be excluded from receiving any benefits derived from the assets held within the trust. 

Furthermore, it is essential to make notice of the fact that the beneficiaries of the trust are allowed to assume control over the assets of the trust once they reach the age of 18, allowing them the authority to manage and utilize those funds in accordance with their own judgment.

This right to assume control over the assets of the trust becomes effective once the beneficiary reaches the age of 18.

There are some parents and grandparents who are concerned about the possible outcomes that could result from selling the assets and then frittering away the money that is made from selling them.

Additionally, it is feasible to form a Bare Trust without exposing the particulars of the arrangement to the beneficiaries who would benefit from it.

If any of the recipients have a significant income or are obligated to pay capital gains tax, then this could potentially lead to complications, although at first glance, it may appear to give a few advantages.

However, in the long run, it may result in complications. After the beneficiaries reach the age of majority, also known as the age of 18, it is important that the trustees properly notify the beneficiaries of the existence of the trust.

It is imperative for the trustees to do so. It is possible that individuals who are still in their teenage years and who may not possess the optimal level of financial responsibility will be entrusted with the assets of the trust because of this condition, despite the fact that it is essential. 

It is usual practice to establish a trust for the purpose of paying school expenses. Once the trust has been established, funds can be drawn directly from the trust to pay for educational costs.

As a result, this makes it possible to compute the required quantity for this purpose, which ultimately results in a smaller, less unpleasant monetary leftover that the recipients can enjoy.

Bare Trust and Taxes

What are the Tax Implications of Bare Trusts

In the United States of America, the creation of a bare trust is not allowed under any circumstances.

However, a person with American citizenship can establish a non-resident trust in either Canada or the United Kingdom and use that trust to set up a bare trust in any of those countries. 

Nevertheless, there would be a variety of tax repercussions associated with selecting that decision. In the United Kingdom, non-resident trustees have the responsibility of adhering to specific tax requirements.

These regulations are dependent not only on the assets that are kept within the trust but also on the citizenship status of both the trustee and the beneficiaries. In addition, these regulations may change depending on the assets that are held within the trust.

It is reasonable to predict that non-resident trustees will be subject to dividend taxes at their basic rate on income generated from a trust that contains a U.K. asset.

This is the case since non-resident trustees receive income from the trust. In the event that income is derived from assets located outside of the United Kingdom, non-resident individuals ought to be excluded from the requirement that they pay taxes in that country.

In addition, trustees who do not reside in the United States would be responsible for the tax implications in that country.

Individuals who are owners of a foreign trust are subject to taxation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on any income that is generated by the trust. This taxation applies to income earned by the trust.

In light of the complexity described above, it would appear to be more likely that people living in the United Kingdom would choose to make use of a bare trust rather than create their own trust from scratch.

When an initial asset transfer occurs in which a trustee in the United Kingdom places that asset transfer into a bare trust, there is a potential that the transaction will satisfy the requirements necessary to be categorized as an exempt transfer.

In the case that exemption is granted, the recipient will be absolved of the duty to make a payment toward an inheritance tax; however, this is contingent upon a minimum of seven years have passed since the transfer and the recipient has been alive throughout this period of time.

When a beneficiary in the United Kingdom makes a distribution of income or assets from a trust, the beneficiary is subject to tax liability calculated using the current rate of the United Kingdom’s basic rate of income tax.

In addition, it is essential to keep in mind that the assets kept within the trust could potentially be subject to a tax on gains from the sale of a capital asset.

What are the Effects of Inheritance Tax on Bare Trusts?

In the event that the person who created the trust dies within seven years of the trust being established, the beneficiaries of the trust may find themselves in the position of having to pay inheritance tax.

Starlord - Bare Trust
Hands on top of each other.

This is because the relevant tax authorities consider transactions involving bare trusts to be candidates for tax exemption. If the settlor survives the aforementioned seven-year term, there will be no inheritance tax imposed on the beneficiaries of the trust.

This is a crucial point to keep in mind. Because the individual gives up their legal ownership of the assets when they transfer them to the trust, the establishment of a bare trust does not have any ramifications for taxes on the individual’s part.

What are the Effects of Income Tax on Bare Trusts?

The beneficiary is considered to possess the trust property in their individual capacity for tax purposes, and as a result, they assume responsibility for any tax responsibilities related to the generated income and gains.

Those individuals who get benefits from a bare trust are obligated to file a Self-Assessment tax return through which they must disclose and pay any income tax or capital gains tax that may be due.

This should be considered as if the tax liability came directly to the beneficiaries themselves, rather than being reported through the SA107 Trusts supplementary pages. This is because the tax liability should come directly to the beneficiaries.

Unless the assets were originally contributed by the beneficiary’s father, the law considers the dividend income to be the beneficiary’s personal property when it is received.

Under these conditions, according to the usual regulations for income that is greater than one hundred pounds, it must be deemed the parent’s income and may be subject to the taxes that are in effect.

This clause does not extend to grandparents or other fiduciaries, which is why it is a frequently selected way for grandparents to make contributions to such trusts. In other words, this law does not apply to grandparents.

Individual allowances are available for use, and the recipient has that ability.

How Does Canada Tax a Bare Trust?

The Canadian income-tax legislation disregards the presence of the bare trustee in accordance with the principles of beneficial ownership under an arrangement known as a bare trust.

This is because the beneficiary continues to keep full ownership rights over any property that is involved in the transaction.

A transaction in which an individual continues to have beneficial ownership of an asset despite transferring legal title to a bare trustee does not meet the criteria for disposal.

As a consequence of this, the beneficiary will not be subject to taxation in the event that they give instructions to a bare trustee to acquire and manage their assets.

This action does not constitute a taxable event for the beneficiary.

In the event that the bare trustee follows the beneficiary’s instructions and goes ahead with the sale of the aforementioned property to a third party, the tax implications of the transaction are the same as those that would have occurred if the beneficiary had directly engaged in the transaction with the third party.

This is because the bare trustee is acting as a proxy for the beneficiary in the transaction.

When it comes to issues concerning the Goods and Services Tax or the Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), the statement that was just expressed is generally applicable.

In the context of the Excise Tax Act of Canada, it is common knowledge that the courts have a tendency to reject a mere trust when interpreting and putting the terms of the act into effect. 

Having said that, it is necessary to bring up the fact that there is at least one exception to the rule.

The presence of a bare trustee is not disregarded in any way by the GST/HST New Housing Rebate program.

In the case of The Queen v. Cheema (2018 FCA 45), the Federal Court of Appeal reached a decision by a majority that the GST/HST New Housing Rebate cannot be claimed by a buyer of a new home if the co-signer of the purchase agreement does not also reside in the property, even if the co-signer acted as a bare trustee for the buyer’s advantage. 

This decision was made in accordance with the majority decision reached in the case.

There is a lack of uniformity in the treatment of bare trusts as a result of this, despite the fact that in Canadian tax law, bare trusts have traditionally been disregarded.

It is advisable, prior to entering into an arrangement involving a bare trust, to determine whether or not the anticipated tax ramifications would, in fact, be realized.

With any questions you may have about bare trusts, it is strongly encouraging that you consult with an experienced group of Canadian tax attorneys on the topic.

Final Thoughts

A bare trust provides trustees with a tax-efficient mechanism for the transfer of assets to subsequent generations of beneficiaries.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that a sizeable number of people would not take kindly to the fact that they will have no authority in managing the distribution and utilization of the cash. 

It is natural and understandable for someone to be cautious about giving up control or power over something.

One line of reasoning suggests that selecting a different kind of trust—one that provides the trustee with more discretionary power—could be a more advantageous option.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

smile beige jacket 4 1024x604 1

Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.



Gain free access to Adam’s two expat books.

Gain free access to Adam’s two expat books.

Get more strategies every week on how to be more productive with your finances.