A named beneficiary typically has an entitlement to income, but not capital.
If the trustees don’t make an appointment (that is: a distribution) of capital during the lifetime of the trust, the trust fund defaults to those named in the trust deed as named beneﬁciaries, in the percentage shares set out in the trust deed.
This is what beneﬁciaries of a “bare trust” (see below) are called.
An absolute beneﬁciary has an absolute entitlement to capital from the trust (subject to its terms), and is able to demand payment of their share of the trust fund, typically once they reach the age of majority.
If an absolute beneﬁciary dies, the portion of the trust fund belonging to them forms part of their estate for IHT purposes (whether or not it has actually been distributed to them).
After the beneﬁciary’s death, their share is passed to their estate to be distributed in accordance with the terms of the will, or via the laws of intestacy in their particular jurisdiction.
Once established, a bare trust cannot change the absolute beneﬁciaries.