Unincorporated Associations, Trust for Monuments, Graves and Animal

Unincorporated Associations

Many clubs and societies are unincorporated such as sports clubs, social societies, student societies etc. They hold no legal status and are not recognised as in existence by the law.

However, to overcome such difficulties Unincorporated Associations are allowed to operate as Trusts. The trustees hold the property of the club on Trust as long as it satisfies the beneficiary principle (every trust must have somebody for whose benefit the trust is established). It can last for 125 years under the rules of Perpetuities and Accumulation Act 2009, Section 5.

The property of an Unincorporated Association is shared between the members and may also be held subject to the contract between the members of the Association.


  • The students of London University set up an Arts Society. After School mum’s clubs. Hackney Football Club etc.


An unincorporated association may be dissolved on the basis of the contract between the members of the society. If the property of the Society or club is held in trust, then it is logical to return it to its members. As an unincorporated association dissolution is always tricky. The problem faced by judges is how to distribute the property or identify who owns the property.

 In most cases where the terms of the unincorporated association are not clear, a common approach taken by the UK courts is to interpret or imply terms in order to find a solution. If there is no owner of the funds the property/ Funds will go to the Crown (bona vacantia).

Trust for Monument or Graves

As a general rule, a trust must have a human beneficiary, however, it is possible to establish a trust to erect a monument or maintain a grave. As it is common for Settlor (who sets up trusts while alive) to provide for such trusts in their will.

  • A trust for monument or graves can only last for 21 years (maximum)
  • It is possible to contract with local authority or burial authority to maintain a grave for a maximum of 99 years under Section 1 of the Parish Council and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provision Act) 1970

Trust for Particular Animal

A trust for animal welfare or prevention of cruelty to an animal, in general, is permitted under charitable trusts. However, a trust to look after an individual animal is not a charity. Many people care about their pets and want to ensure that they are cared for after their death. English Law allows them to set up a trust for their individual pet.

  • A trust is only valid for 21 years
  • A reasonable money/Property must be left
  • Any larger sum then required to care for an animal for 21 years may defeat the purpose
  • As a principle, the trust property or money should not be tied up in frivolous purpose


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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