Wilberforce J was asked to approve a variation of a trust in favour of a child under the 1958 Act, to restrict her from getting her full entitlement on her attaining the age of 21 because she was said to be ‘alarmingly immature and irresponsible as regards money.’ She was within 18 days of attaining majority.
Held: The court deferred the vesting and imposed protective trusts in the interim. Wilberforce J said this of the word ‘benefit’: ”benefit’ is a word of wide meaning: it is not restricted to material benefit. On this basis I was urged to approve the arrangement.
This argument, based on the language of the Act, has much force . . There are obvious difficulties in attributing so wide a meaning to the Act of 1958. For example, is the court to consult the wished of the infant? That is, as has been found here, a matter of considerable difficulty, and where, as here, the infant is nearly 21, it would seem preferable, if her wishes can be taken into account, to leave the matter over until she can decide for herself. Or can the court impose a settlement against the infant’s wishes? To so this would involve going much further than the court goes under the Act of 1855, and places upon the court a heavy responsibility (which it does not have generally in variation of trusts applications) of considering and estimating the views of other persons (often including parents and medical and psychological experts) as to what is for the infant’s benefit.’
 Ch 158
Variation of Trusts Act 1958 1
England and Wales
Cited – Wright and Another v Gater and Others ChD 7-Nov-2011
The beneficiary, a child was to inherit estates of his grandparents and parents, all of which were intestate. An application was made to vary the provisions in order to reduce the liability to Inheritance Tax.
Held: A deferment of vesting . .
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Updated: 01 June 2021; Ref: scu.448126