How to vary/update the rules of a Discretionary Trust Deed


This Deed of Variation implements a general update to a discretionary trust deed. It includes amendments to the trust deed to bring it up to date for changes to the law, including allowing the trustee to: 

a) determine whether to treat amounts as income or capital;
b) resolve to distribute different classes of income, including franked dividends and capital gains;
c) make decisions regarding the distribution of income and capital to be made after the end of a financial year, to the extent permitted by law (for instance, when streaming capital gains);
d) pass oral resolutions; and
e) retain unpaid present entitlements in accordance with Tax Office rulings.

A discretionary trust may be varied in order to update certain rules of the trust, provided the deed establishing the trust allows the variation.

Important: It is critical that you consider the original trust deed, as well as each subsequent deed and instrument varying the terms of the trust, when determining whether to use this document.

To start this process, you will need to click on ‘Deed of Variation (General Update)’ under the 'Trust Rules & Vesting' heading.


You will then be redirected to the relevant webform, to which the form will be pre-filled with the relevant data that has currently been added or imported into the trust profile of the trust. You will need to complete any data that has not been pre-filled. These data fields will be highlighted in pink. You cannot submit the webform until all relevant data fields have been completed.


Important: In relation to the ‘Variation Details’ webform, the following details will need to be completed:

  • Date of establishment – This will be pre-filled if entered or input previously into the Trust Profile.
  • 'Add date of variation' question. If you answer yes, you will need to enter the prior variation dates inclusive of the date of the most current Deed of Variation. If you answer no, no additional fields are required on this question.

    • If there are variation dates available for Trust, these dates will be listed on the tab as variation dates and can be removed by click on 'Remove' button available against each variation date.
  • Variation clause - clause in the current trust deed that regulates a variation of the Trust;
  • How many clauses are in the current deed? - number of clauses in the current trust deed.


When you come to the ‘consenting party’ webform, you will be asked the following question:

'Is anyone required to consent to the variation of the trust deed by the Trustee?' The answer to this question will be located in the current trust deed of the trust.

If the answer is ‘Yes’ to this question, a dropdown box will appear that will list the following options:

    • Principal
    • Appointor
    • Guardian
    • Other - once selected, an additional 'Description of Consenting Party in the Deed' will appear so as to input the details manually.


After submitting the details, the relevant documentation will appear on the ‘collaboration page’ i.e.:

  • Discretionary Trust Variation Ancillaries
  • Discretionary Trust Variation
  • Information Flyer
  • Legal Review Certificate
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