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What is a declaration of trust, and what does it do?

A declaration of trust is a legal document which sets out who owns what. It is a document in which one person declares that they hold assets on trust for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. A declaration of trust is a legally binding document which can be used to formally record the financial arrangements between owners of a particular asset.

A declaration of trust is most commonly used in family disputes in relation to property which has been purchased jointly by a couple, and/or with the financial assistance of someone else, such as a gift/ inheritance from parents. Within the declaration of trust you are able to record who has paid the deposit for a home, and how you would want to split the proceeds of sale in the future if you were to separate. It can provide clarity at what may be a difficult time, and hopefully reduce any disagreements in the future in the event that you separate from your partner and wish to protect your parents’ bequest.