Undated signed Deed of Appointment of Assets

We have a Deed of Appointment of assets out of a lifetime discretionary trust, signed by all parties, however the document has not been dated (it would have been signed between 2017/2018). Does this undated Deed constitute a valid Deed of Appointment or is it essentially held in escrow until such time that it is dated ? If the client does not now wish to utilise the Deed of Appointment can it be ignored.

Any help on this matter would be gratefully appreciated.

Johanna Knott
Cartmell and Co

I believe a deed is usually delivered upon execution, arguably by each party as they execute it.

Unless the deed specifies another date for delivery, I suspect it became fully effective once executed by all parties.

Some drafters include provision in a deed for it to be delivered when dated so, if undated, there will be doubt as to whether it is effective. It may then be down to a review of correspondence and file notes to identify the intention of the parties at the time the deed was executed, so that the lack of a date can be put into context.

I suggest the first stage is a careful reading of the deed.

However, who is “the client”? If, say, the settlor, do they have any standing to challenge the validity of the appointment.

Paul Saunders

The fact that the deed is not dated does not necessarily make it invalid. If it was held in escrow, and the escrow has not crystallised, then it remains in escrow. However, if it was signed and there was no implied or express escrow, and someone simply forgot to put a date on it, then it should be treated as effective on the date of the last signature.

Therefore the circumstances of the signing need to be investigated.

Simon Northcott