Trust Contingent Upon Attaining the Age of 25

I am dealing with an estate where the Will contains the following clause:-

“I GIVE the residue of my estate both real and personal of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situated to my Trustees to hold on trust either to sell or if they think fit without being liable for any loss to retain all or any part of it and to pay my debts testamentary expenses and inheritance tax payable on or by reason of my death in respect of my estate and
invest or apply what is left for the benefit of those of my children who survive me and attain the age of 25 years if more than one in equal shares PROVIDED THAT if any of my children dies before me or after me but under the age stipulated above I give the share that child would have taken to his or her own children who obtain the age stipulated above and if more than one in equal shares if none of my children survive me or attain the age of 25 or if this gift or any part of it fails for any other reason then I give the residue of my estate or the part of it affected to X of 123 Any Street with instructions that 50% being disbursed to charities of his choice.”

The Will also contains the following clause:-

“THE STATUTORY power of appropriation conferred by section 41 of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 shall be exercisable by my Trustees and they may at any time at their discretion appropriate any part of my residuary estate towards satisfaction of any legacy or any share in my residuary estate without the necessity of obtaining the consent of any person.”

My question is, are the Trustees able to pay anything to the deceased’s children before they attain the age of 25? Presumably as the gift to the children is contingent on them attaining the age of 25 the Trust cannot be brought to an end in their favour before this date.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Martyn Dixon
Harold Bell & Co.

You need to establish what powers of advancement are available, either under the Will itself or s 32 Trustee Act 1925. If none under the Will then the statutory power will permit distributions prior to attaining the specified age. I think the statutory power applies to the whole of the presumptive share if the deceased died after October 2014, but haven’t checked that. Otherwise it will allow distributions up to one-half.

Diana Smart
Gordons LLP