Guidance on record keeping obligations as at 2019 can be found here: https://blackshawtax.com/2018/07/30/hmrc-guidance-on-trust-record-keeping/
This is likely to change and become more onerous once the UK adopts the 5th EU anti-money laundering directive (“5thAML”). The number of trusts affected by this may increase tenfold to 2 million. It will include many dormant trusts simply holding land or other non-income producing assets that currently do not need to formally register. In many cases the trusts will not have cash resources to pay for professional help to complete the database requirements and trustees could face personal penalties for non-compliance.
One hope is that the HMRC trust register will be improved. The current version appears to have been programmed by someone who does not understand the concept of either a trust or a database!
It may also lead to more transparency and information being available on trust asset ownership (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on ones views on privacy).
The use of trusts
As ever, it is worth remembering that trusts are a useful vehicle to protect assets, for example minors, vulnerable persons, plus inheritance tax and wills planning encouraged by the tax legislation.
The consultation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/transposition-of-the-fifth-money-laundering-directive
The EU directive can be found here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2018/843/oj
The ICAEW response to the consultation can be found here: https://www.icaew.com/-/media/corporate/files/technical/icaew-representations/2020/icaew-rep-04-20-fifth-money-laundering-directive-and-trust-registration-service.ashx