Trusts

In common law legal systems, a trust is a relationship whereby property (including real, tangible and intangible) is managed by one person (or persons, or organizations) for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a settlor who entrusts some or all of their property to people of their choice. The trustees hold legal title to the trust property, but they are obliged to hold the property for the benefit of one or more individuals or organizations, usually specified by the settlor, who hold equitable title. The trustees owe a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, who are the “beneficial” owners of the trust property.

The trust is governed by the terms of the trust document, which is usually written. It is also governed by local law. The trustee is obliged to administer the trust in accordance with both the terms of the trust document and the governing law.

In the United States, the settlor is also called the trustor, grantor, donor or creator. In some other jurisdictions, the settlor may also be known as the founder.