Beneficial Interests vs Equitable Interests

Beneficial interest and equitable interest are both terms used in property law and trusts law to describe the ownership or interest in a property.

Beneficial interest refers to the right to receive the benefits or profits of a property, while legal title is held by another person or entity. This means that the holder of the beneficial interest has an economic interest in the property, but not necessarily the legal right to control or use it. For example, if a trust is created and the trustee holds legal title to the property, the beneficiaries of the trust have a beneficial interest in the property.

Equitable interest refers to the right to use and enjoy the property or receive its profits, as well as the right to acquire legal title to the property under certain conditions. An equitable interest is considered a legal interest, although it is not the same as legal title. For example, if a buyer who has entered into a contract and paid his money to purchase a property, he may have an equitable interest in the property before the transfer of legal title is complete.

In many cases, equitable interest and beneficial interest are the same, so these two terms are often used interchangeably. However, it should be noted that beneficial interest and equitable interest are not always the same because even where a trust exists the equitable and beneficial titles might not coincide. For example, in case of a sub-trust, the beneficiary of the original trust can hold his equitable interests on another trust for the benefit of another person. In this way, the legal title is held by the original trust, the equitable title is held by the sub-trust, and the beneficial interest is held by another person.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham
ESSEC Business School

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.