Trust Registration - duty to inform trustees

We hold in our deeds store scores (at least, possibly hundreds) of £10 pilot discretionary trusts created over the last 25 years or so. They are sitting there, waiting for the settlor to die, when they will then receive funds from an estate, life policy, death-in-service scheme or pension fund.

Many of these pilot trusts will no doubt be redundant because clients have gone to other solicitors and made later arrangements without telling us, but all must be registered by 1st September.

Do we have a duty to comb though thousands of packets in our deeds store to identify relevant trusts and then try to contact and alert the trustees?

We make no charge for storing deeds for people for whom we have acted at any time. Is our duty different to people for whom we also hold Wills in storage, for which we do charge a small fee?

Michael Cutler
Colemans Solicitors LLP

It would seem that these pilot trust do not need to be registered at the moment;

Trusts which hold assets with a total value of £100 or less which were already in existence before 6 October 2020 are excluded from registration on the Trust Registration Service (TRS). Both these requirements have to be met, so adding funds on or after 6 October 2020 to a pilot trust created before that time will remove it from the exclusion if those added funds mean the trust assets now have a total value of more than £100.

TRSM 23090

Thank you Gerry. I was going by the guidance on the .gov website – Register a trust as a trustee.

That lists ‘Trusts that do not need to be registered unless they are liable to pay UK tax’ and includes in that list pre- 6 October 2020 pilot trusts.

However it goes on to say, under the headings “When to register” and “Trusts that are not taxable”:

“The deadline for registrations for non-taxable trusts in existence on 6 October 2020 is 1 September 2022.”

Have I misunderstood this?


The guidance on can be/is confusing.

The legislation; The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

provides (Sch 3A) for ‘excluded trusts’ which are not required to register.

These excluded trusts include

"Pilot trusts

  1. A trust which— (a) holds property with a value not exceeding £100, and
    (b) was created before the date on which regulation 42(2)(iii) of these Regulations comes into force."

The Regulations apparently came into force on 6 October 2020.

So at the moment there is no requirement to have these trusts registered.

Registration will be required when/if the trustees receive death-in-service benefits, life policy proceeds etc.