The principal uses of a trust

They may be summarised as

(a)          To enable property particularly real property to be held for persons who cannot themselves hold it e.g. even though the legal title to land cannot be vested in an infant or a minor, there is no objection to land being held in trust for the infant or minor;

(b)          To enable a person to make provision for dependants privately, the most obvious examples are provisions made a man for his mistress or illegitimate child; during the lifetime of the man there is no problem but if the man were to provide for the mistress or illegitimate child through his will, these circumstances are likely to leak out because once probate of the will has been obtained the will is a public document and is open to public inspection.  On the other hand a trust deed in favour of the mistress or illegitimate child escapes this publicity;

(c)          To tie up property so that it can benefit persons in succession; an outright gift may be made to a spouse in the hope that on their death that property will go to the children but there is no guarantee that it will do so.  The spouse could get married again and the property could get alienated.  On the other hand a gift to trustees to hold on trust for the spouse for life with the remainder to the children will ensure that the children get the benefit;

(d)          To protect family property from Waste, a person may feel that an outright gift or money or other property to a surviving spouse or child will lead to its being squandered or wasted,  a gift of that money or transfer of that property to trustees to hold upon trust and to pay either the income therefrom or only a limited proportion of the capital to the surviving spouse or child at given intervals will probably prevent this;

(e)          To make a gift to take effect in the future in the light of circumstances which have not yet arisen and therefore are not yet known.  A person may for instance have 3 young daughters and may by will set up a trust whereby a sum of money is given to trustees for them to distribute among the daughters either as they deem fit or having regard to stated factors and with that discretion the trustees would be able for example in due course to give say one quarter of the fund each to two of the daughters who have married well and the remaining one half to the other daughter who was not so lucky.

Property that may be held in trust

The subject matter of a trust may be real or personal property. A trust may be not only a legal interest but also an equitable interest in the property.

In case of Lord Strathcona S.S. v Dominion Coal Ltd . It was stated that

the scope of the trust recognized in equity is unlimited. There can be a trust of a chattel or of a chose in action or of a right or obligation and an ordinary legal contract just much as the trust for land. A ship owner might declare himself a trustee of his obligations under a charter party.”


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