Non-Charitable Purpose Trust

Non-Charitable Purpose Trust
Non-Charitable Purpose Trust
Full Overview Of Non-Charitable Purpose Trust

Non-charitable purpose trusts (NCPTs) are a unique and increasingly relevant instrument in estate planning and asset protection. Unlike traditional trusts with identifiable beneficiaries, NCPTs are established to fulfil specific non-charitable purposes.

At DLS Solicitors, we understand that the concept of NCPTs can be complex and nuanced. This comprehensive overview aims to clarify the purpose, structure, benefits, and legal considerations of non-charitable purpose trusts.

What is a Non-Charitable Purpose Trust?

A non-charitable purpose Trust is a type of trust set up to achieve a specific purpose rather than to benefit particular individuals or charities. These trusts are typically used in situations where the objectives cannot be achieved through conventional means and often cater to unique or specialised needs. Examples of purposes for NCPTs include maintaining family graves, caring for pets, and holding assets such as corporate shares for specified purposes.

NCPTs differ from charitable trusts in that they do not qualify for the same tax benefits and regulatory advantages. They are subject to stricter legal scrutiny and must have clear and enforceable purposes to be considered valid.

Key Elements of a Non-Charitable Purpose Trust

  • Settlor: The individual or entity that creates the trust and transfers assets into it.
  • Trustee: The person or entity responsible for managing the trust’s assets and ensuring the purposes of the trust are fulfilled.
  • Enforcer: A person or entity designated to ensure that the trustees are carrying out the terms of the trust. This role is critical in NCPTs as there are no beneficiaries to hold the trustees accountable.
  • Trust Property: The assets or property placed into the trust by the settlor.
  • Purpose: The specific, non-charitable objective that the trust is established to achieve.

Establishing a Non-Charitable Purpose Trust

Creating an NCPT involves several critical steps, each requiring careful planning and professional legal advice:

Define the Purpose

The first and most crucial step is to define the trust’s purpose clearly. This purpose must be specific, lawful, and achievable. Clarity and precision are essential to the trust’s validity.

Select Trustees and Enforcers

Choosing the right trustees and enforcers is vital. Trustees manage the trust’s assets and ensure the purpose is fulfilled, while enforcers ensure that trustees adhere to the trust’s terms. Both roles require individuals or entities with integrity, diligence, and relevant expertise.

Draft the Trust Deed

The trust deed is the legal document that outlines the terms and conditions of the trust. It must include detailed provisions regarding the trust’s purpose, the powers and duties of the trustees, the role of the enforcer, and any other relevant terms.

Transfer of Assets

The settlor must transfer the designated assets into the trust. This step formalises the trust’s creation and transfers legal ownership of the assets to the trustees.

Ensure Compliance

NCPTs are subject to legal scrutiny, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations is essential. This may involve registration and ongoing reporting requirements.

Benefits of Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts

NCPTs offer several significant advantages, making them a valuable tool for specialised estate planning and asset management:


NCPTs provide flexibility to achieve specific purposes that cannot be easily addressed through traditional trusts or other legal instruments. This can include unique personal, family, or corporate objectives.

Asset Protection

Assets placed in an NCPT are protected from personal creditors, legal claims, and other risks, making them an effective tool for safeguarding specific assets.


NCPTs offer a level of privacy that is not always possible with other forms of trusts or legal arrangements. The details of the trust and its purposes can remain confidential.


NCPTs can be established to last for an extended period, ensuring that the specified purpose is achieved over the long term. This is particularly useful for ongoing obligations, such as maintaining family graves or caring for pets.

Specialised Management

By appointing trustees and enforcers with specific expertise, NCPTs ensure that the trust’s purposes are managed and fulfilled by knowledgeable and capable individuals.

While NCPTs offer numerous benefits, they also come with potential challenges and legal considerations that must be carefully navigated:


One of the primary challenges of NCPTs is enforceability. The purpose must be clear, lawful, and possible to achieve. Vague or impractical purposes can render the trust invalid.

Lack of Beneficiaries

Since NCPTs do not have identifiable beneficiaries, the role of the enforcer becomes crucial. The enforcer must have the authority and commitment to hold trustees accountable and fulfil the trust’s purposes.

Tax Implications

NCPTs do not qualify for the same tax benefits as charitable trusts. It is essential to understand the tax implications, including potential liabilities for inheritance tax, capital gains tax, and income tax.

Regulatory Compliance

NCPTs must comply with relevant laws and regulations, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction. This includes ensuring that the trust deed is properly drafted and that the trust is registered and reported as required.


Establishing and maintaining an NCPT can involve significant costs, including legal fees, trustee fees, and ongoing administrative expenses. It is important to consider these costs when deciding whether an NCPT is the right solution.

Applications of Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts

NCPTs are used in various contexts to achieve specific non-charitable objectives. Some typical applications include:

Maintenance of Family Graves

NCPTs can be established to provide for the ongoing maintenance and care of family graves or memorials. This ensures that these sites are preserved and cared for according to the settlor’s wishes.

Care of Pets

Pet owners can use NCPTs to ensure their pets are cared for after death. The trust can provide for the pet’s maintenance, including food, veterinary care, and other expenses.

Holding Corporate Shares

In some cases, NCPTs are used to hold corporate shares for specific purposes, such as maintaining control of a family business or ensuring that shares are used in a particular way.

Philanthropic Projects

While not charitable, some philanthropic projects can be supported through NCPTs. These projects must have a clear, specific purpose that does not qualify as charitable under the law.

Specialised Financial Arrangements

NCPTs can be used to structure specialised financial arrangements, such as managing intellectual property rights, holding rare or valuable assets, or fulfilling specific financial obligations.


Non-charitable purpose trusts (NCPTs) are unique and versatile tools in estate planning and asset management. They offer flexibility, asset protection, and the ability to achieve specific purposes that traditional trusts cannot easily address. However, establishing and maintaining an NCPT requires careful planning, precise drafting, and ongoing management to ensure compliance with legal requirements and the fulfilment of the trust’s purposes.

At DLS Solicitors, we are committed to providing expert guidance and support to help our clients navigate the complexities of non-charitable purpose trusts. Whether you are considering setting up an NCPT for personal, family, or corporate purposes, our experienced team is here to assist you every step of the way.

From defining the trust’s purpose and drafting the trust deed to selecting trustees and enforcers and ensuring ongoing compliance, we ensure that your NCPT is managed effectively and in accordance with your wishes. By understanding the intricacies of NCPTs, you can make informed decisions that safeguard your assets and achieve your specific objectives.

If you have any questions or need assistance with non-charitable purpose trusts, please do not hesitate to contact us at DLS Solicitors. We are here to help you achieve your estate planning goals and ensure the effective management of your trust.

Non-Charitable Purpose Trust FAQ'S

A non-charitable purpose trust is a trust established for purposes that do not qualify as charitable under UK law. Unlike charitable trusts, which benefit the public or a section of the public, non-charitable purpose trusts are created to fulfil specific, non-charitable objectives.

Generally, non-charitable purpose trusts are not recognised as valid under UK law because they lack identifiable beneficiaries to enforce the trust. However, there are exceptions, such as trusts for the maintenance of graves and monuments, and some trusts in certain offshore jurisdictions may be recognised.

Common uses include maintaining graves and monuments, holding funds for pets’ care, and specific business purposes, such as holding shares in a company to ensure the company’s independence.

Charitable trusts must have charitable purposes that benefit the public or a section of the public and enjoy various tax advantages. Non-charitable purpose trusts do not have these requirements and are not eligible for the same tax benefits.

No, non-charitable purpose trusts are subject to the rule against perpetuities, which means they must have a limited duration. Unless they fall within specific exceptions, they cannot last more than 21 years.

The rule against perpetuities is a legal principle that prevents trusts from lasting indefinitely. In the UK, it generally requires that interests in property must vest, if at all, no later than 125 years after the creation of the trust.

Yes, non-charitable purpose trusts do not benefit from the tax exemptions available to charitable trusts. Depending on the trust’s structure and activities, they may be subject to income tax, capital gains tax (CGT), and inheritance tax (IHT).

Enforcement can be challenging because there are no identifiable beneficiaries. In some cases, the trust deed may appoint an enforcer or protector responsible for ensuring the trustees carry out the trust’s purposes. Alternatively, the courts may enforce the trust if it falls within recognised exceptions.

Suppose a non-charitable purpose trust fails (e.g. because it lacks valid purposes or identifiable beneficiaries). In that case, the property typically reverts to the settlor or their estate, or it may be subject to a resulting trust for the benefit of the settlor’s heirs.

Yes, many offshore jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands and Jersey, recognise and allow the creation of non-charitable purpose trusts. These jurisdictions often provide a more flexible legal framework for such trusts, including longer durations and the appointment of enforcers.


This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 11th July 2024.

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Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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