What is a Trust Deed?

A Trust Deed:

  • Is a formal document which outlines the terms of a trust agreement.
  • Is a document which in the case of an Offshore trust effectively gives birth to a Trust.

A Trust Deed usually sets out the fact that a Trustee is holding certain property for the benefit of others (ie the Beneficiaries). A Declaration of Trust also usually sets out the arrangements by which the Trustee is to hold and deal with the Trust Property – it is like a contract between the Trustee and the Settlor/Beneficiaries.


Within the document the Trustee declares that he/she/it holds particular property on certain conditions. These conditions are called the “Terms of the Trust”.


Included in the Trust Deed are specific provisions governing how the Trust is to be administered including:

  1. The name of the Trust
  2. The name and address of the Trustee
  3. The legal nature, objects and or purpose of the trust
  4. Powers to add and exclude beneficiaries
  5. Power of appointment (ie. distribution)
  6. Trusts in default of appointment, and, sometimes, ultimate default trusts
  7. General administrative powers of the trustees
  8. Power of maintenance
  9. Power of advancement
  10. A trustee charging clause
  11. Regulation of the appointment of new trustees
  12. The proper law forum for the Trust (ie what country’s laws apply to the Trust particularly in the case of disputes and litigation).
  13. Details of who (if anyone) is to be excluded from the trust
  14. Power for the Trustee to indemnify him/itself out of the trust fund