Jan Cummins - Counselor at Law


Q: What is a Trust?


Black’s Law Dictionary definition of Trust: “The right, enforceable solely in equity, to the beneficial enjoyment of property to which another person holds the legal title; a property interest held by one person (trustee) at the request of another (settlor) for the benefit of a third party (beneficiary).”

A trust is a legal document that allows the parties involved to conduct legal transactions independent of the supervision of a court of law. Trusts are a creation of the common law, developing over the past millenium in English law, first primarily as a way to avoid the feudal burdens and restrictions of real property ownership, and more recently (not very recently, since 1535!) as a way to transact legal affairs outside of the supervision of the courts of law. Trusts are still potentially subject to court supervision, but only if one of the parties to the trust brings it to court to resolve an issue or settle a conflict.

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