In a trust structure, a trustee holds your business for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries).

A trustee can be a person or a company, and is responsible for everything in the trust, including income and losses.

Trust structures are expensive and complicated to set up, and are generally used to protect the business assets for beneficiaries. The trustee decides how business profits should be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Trusts are complex to set up and you'll need time and the right skills to do it properly. It's best to see a qualified, licensed professional to help you understand what's involved and the registrations you'll need.

Key elements of a trust


If you want to set up a trust, keep in mind that trust structures:

  • can be expensive to set-up and operate
  • require a formal trust deed that outlines how the trust operates
  • require the trustee to undertake formal yearly administrative tasks
  • assets are protected
  • can be difficult to dissolve or make changes once established

If you operate your business as a trust, the trustee is legally responsible for its operations. A trustee of a trust can be a company, providing some asset protection.

Learn more about trusts.

Find out more about the tax obligations for a trust.

Register as a trust


Before you register as a trust, seek advice from a professional business adviser, lawyer or accountant.

You can register as a trust through the Business Registration Service.