Patrick's in-depth knowledge of the subject, combined with his quiet, calm professional manner put our minds at rest - before our bodies! Dave Saunders

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Trusts And Wills

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The branch of law covering Trusts distinguishes between the right to own something and the right to enjoy the benefits of it. This has many uses, providing a means to give away assets whilst still retaining some control over them, or to disguise ownership.

Trusts have a long history reaching back to the time of the crusades. Crusader knights were abroad for years and required a steward who was able to deal with their estates in their absence, whilst they themselves retained the right to the income and benefits the estates provided. Monks bound by vows of poverty also needed someone to administer the large estates that they acquired. The English Law of Trusts was developed to accommodate these needs. Trusts are commonly used in Wills for a large variety of reasons.

Trust creation

Three basic forms of trust are recognised under English law:

  • An express trust is created by the owner of property deciding that such property should be held on trust for another. An express trust may be created during the individual’s lifetime, by a formal trust deed, or on their death by a Will.
  • An implied trust is created by the finding of a Court on the facts of a particular claim before it that a trust must exist.
  • A constructive trust is created by operation of law. For example, if an individual keeps a payment they know to have been made by mistake, they will be considered to be holding the money on trust for the person who paid by mistake.

All trusts involve a triangular relationship: The owner of property (a settlor) transfers his ownership to another (a trustee) for the benefit of a third person (a beneficiary). However, these roles often become confused, since it is possible for the settlor of an express trust also to be a trustee and / or a beneficiary under the trust he so creates. Any other beneficiary of the trust might also be a trustee.

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Westbury Wills

57 Sylvan Way, Sea Mills, Bristol BS9 2LB United Kingdom
Phone: 0117 907 1002