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Under InterDocs's discretionary trust deed, we set up Jane Bloggs as a primary beneficiary. Jane's sister Sarah has passed away and we wonder whether her partner, Scott (whom Sarah was in a continuous relationship with for 20 years, but never married), is eligible to receive distributions under the General Beneficiary clause in your deed?

Under our deed, Scott would be included as a general beneficiary, on the basis that he was the de facto spouse of Sarah, who was the sister of the primary beneficiary. Also, Scott continues to be a general beneficiary now, notwithstanding that Sarah is now deceased.

Therefore, the trustee of this trust is able to pay distributions to Scott as a beneficiary.

Our trust deed provides that general beneficiaries include (among others) “any………sister………of any of the Primary Beneficiaries and their Spouses………”.  The words “and their Spouses” would include a spouse (as defined) of a sister of the primary beneficiary.

Under our trust deed, "Spouse", means any person with whom the person is or was living or cohabiting (or with whom the person was living or cohabiting immediately prior to the person’s death) in a bona fide domestic relationship. 

Scott would be considered a spouse of Sarah under the trust deed, and he remains so notwithstanding that Sarah has died.