Nature of the Beneficiary’s interest


At common law the only rights recognised were the legal rights in the trustees and so equity stepped in to recognise a beneficial interest in favour of the beneficiary and allowed the beneficiary to enforce it.  The interests of a beneficiary are therefore equitable and they confer on him rights which include
(a)          The right to apply for a receiver to be appointed over trust property;
(b)          The right to apply for the court sanction of unauthorised transactions
(c)          The right to apply for injunctions;
(d)          The right to a charge on property bought partly with trust money,
(e)          The right to inspect and take copies of the account;
(f)           The right to joint trustees as defendants;  to sue the trustees, to sue in the trustee’s name etc.  When sui juris and together entitled to bring the trust to an end.
The trend would seem to be to negative such an intention where such words occur but each case depends on its particular set of circumstances.  In Re Adams & Kensington Vestry (1884) 27 Ch. D 394 where a testator had given all his real and personal estate to his wife “in full confidence that she would do what was right as to the disposal thereof between my children”.  It was held that under these words the widow took an absolute interest in the property unfettered by any trust in favour of the children.  The judge also observed that some case had gone very far and unjustifiably imposed upon words a meaning beyond that which they would bear if looked at alone.


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