A Bare Trust is a simple type of trust arrangement where a trustee holds and manages property for a beneficiary. The trustee has no discretion over how to manage or distribute the trust property and has to act only according to the beneficiary’s instructions. This type of trust is often used to transfer assets while protecting them for family members or as part of estate planning.
One of the key features of setting up a bare trust is that the beneficiary has the right to all income generated by the trust property. This includes any dividends, rental income, or capital gains. Additionally, because the trust is transparent for tax purposes, the income generated by the trust is taxed directly as income of the beneficiary. This makes it a very tax-efficient way of passing on assets to the next generation. Another benefit of a bare trust is that it is relatively easy to set up and is less expensive than other types of trust arrangements. Bare trusts also provide beneficiaries with flexibility and control over their assets while they are held in trust.

Determining the Trust Property

  • Assets that Can be Placed in a Bare Trust: A variety of assets can be placed in a bare trust, including real estate, stocks, bonds, and cash. It is important to carefully consider the assets that will be placed in the trust as it can have implications for how the trust is managed and taxed.
  • Transferring Ownership to the Trustee: Once the assets have been identified, ownership of the assets must be transferred to the trustee. This process can involve legal paperwork, such as deeds or share certificates, and must be properly executed to be legally binding.

Selecting the Trustee

  • Criteria for Choosing a Trustee: When setting up a bare trust, it is important to consider the trustee’s experience and expertise in managing trusts. The trustee should also have a good reputation and be trustworthy, reliable, and impartial.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of the Trustee: The trustee’s role in a bare trust is to manage the trust property and follow the beneficiary’s instructions. The trustee is legally bound to act in the best interests of the beneficiary and must not act in any way that would conflict with those interests.

Drafting the Trust Deed

  • Essential Clauses to Include: The trust deed is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the trust. It is important to include essential clauses, such as the identity of the parties involved, the transfer of assets, the trust property, the appointment of trustees, and the beneficiary’s rights and entitlements.
  • Considerations for Legal Language and Formatting: The trust deed must be drafted in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements, including proper legal language and formatting. It is important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that the trust deed is drafted correctly and is legally binding.

Managing and Administering the Bare Trust

  • Monitoring and Reporting Obligations: The trustee has reporting obligations to the beneficiary, which include providing regular updates on the trust property’s performance. This can be done through regular reports, such as balance sheets or through property valuations.
  • Tax Considerations and Implications: Setting up a bare trust can have significant tax implications, which can vary depending on the type and value of assets in the trust. It is important to work with a tax professional to ensure that all tax implications are properly accounted for and managed.
  • Resolving Disputes and Conflicts: If disputes or conflicts arise regarding the management of the trust, the parties involved must attempt to resolve them in good faith. If they cannot, a court can be brought in to resolve the dispute.

Closing the Bare Trust

  • Termination or End of the Trust: A bare trust may be terminated if the beneficiary reaches a certain age or other specified event occurs. The trust deed will outline the conditions under which the trust may be terminated.
  • Distribution of Trust Property: The trustee’s role is to distribute the trust property in accordance with the trust deed. Beneficiaries have a right to the income generated by the trust property, as well as any capital gains.
  • Final Accounting and Reporting Requirements: Once the trust has been terminated and the property distributed, the trustee must provide a final account and report to the beneficiary, outlining all transactions and financial transactions.

Seeking Professional Legal Advice

  • Importance of Consulting an Attorney: Setting up a bare trust can be complex, and it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can provide advice and guidance throughout the process. An attorney can ensure that all legal requirements are met and help manage any disputes or conflicts that may arise.
  • Specific Legal Considerations Relevant to the Trust Structure: A bare trust has unique legal considerations that must be taken into account during the set-up and management process. These considerations may relate to tax implications, trust property, or the rights and entitlements of beneficiaries. An experienced attorney can help navigate these complexities.


In conclusion, a bare trust is a straightforward and efficient way to transfer assets while maintaining control and protection for beneficiaries. By designating a trustee to hold and manage the trust property, the beneficiary can benefit from the income generated by the assets without being burdened by the complexities of managing and distributing them. setting up a bare trust requires careful consideration of the parties involved, compliance with legal requirements, and the drafting of a comprehensive trust deed. It is crucial to seek the expertise of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure a smooth and legally sound process.

Additionally, ongoing management of a bare trust involves monitoring and reporting obligations, tax considerations, and potential dispute resolution. These tasks should be handled with diligence and, if necessary, with the guidance of professionals in estate planning and taxation.