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does a "trust" have a legal identity through name alone

(11 Posts)
Tortington Tue 16-Aug-05 23:09:35

its a work thing - some guy has decided to set up a group and call it "The xxxxxxx trust"
thats it - no constitution or anything he has declared himself head of it and stuck posters everywhere - i have a meeting with him and a few other people on monday and wondered whether you can just decide to have a trust if you are not preporting at all to be charitable in any way. becuse to be fair to him hes not saying he is a charitable organisation.

Just wondered if by virtue of calling yourself a trust whether you have to get involved with teh ccharities commision?

bit specific - but would anyone know this?


PrincessPeaHead Tue 16-Aug-05 23:18:02

custardo, not all trusts are charities, for example there are hundreds of family trusts around that are in no way charitable. However a trust is a specific legal concept and you can't call yourself a trust unless you are one and you fit the criteria, if you see what I mean. Trusts don't have to be constituted in writing, but very often are (unless they are an implied trust or in a few other cases which are not the norm). But all trusts exist to hold property of some description for the benefit of one or more named or classes of beneficiaries - is he purporting to do this? If so he has to comply with trust law which is pretty complex.
As to whether he is being dodgy or not, it really depends what he is purporting to do and what it is he is claiming to hold in trust. Sounds a little odd, though.

DOes that help at all?

PrincessPeaHead Tue 16-Aug-05 23:20:19

ps you should not call yourself a trust if you are not a trust - but I'm not sure who you would report this to. If he is trying to raise money or funds then trading standards I guess, on a misdescription basis. If anyconfusion could arise about whether he was raising money for charity and he wasn't, then maybe the charity commissioners would be interested...

Tortington Tue 16-Aug-05 23:32:23

ta pph - could you tell me in laymans terms what a trust is - please dont do a link cos i am guarenteed not to understand it.

thank you

he to my knowledge isn't holding anything in trust - for any beneficiaries.

he wants an active group of residents to give the shufty to the HA and get their arses in gear.

am going to tell him about setting up other types of groups such as a Resssies assoc. and other informal ways and formal ways of becomming involved. but firstly i will have to tackle the existing group - he seems to ahve made up and made himself king of.

he holds nothing in trust but the time of volunteers i suppose

PrincessPeaHead Tue 16-Aug-05 23:38:44

a trust is a legal entity which holds property for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.

a legal entity means that it has it's own existence, like a person or a company - ie it can hold bank accounts, bind itself by signing a contract etc. it is run by trustees, and what the trustees can do is set out in various Trustee Acts. If they want to do anything else, or anything outside the Acts, they have to go to court and the courts can give permissions.

property can be eg land or money or art works or shares in a company or anything which we normally understand as property with value.

beneficiaries are the people or entities who benefit - and who really "own" the property, although the trust holds it and administers it on their behalf. they can be people or companies (or other trusts).

So you do need property, beneficiaries, and trustees, none of which you really seem to have here. He should call it an action group or something instead...

Tortington Tue 16-Aug-05 23:49:48

oh ta very much very very very very helpful your s superdooperstar

Tortington Tue 16-Aug-05 23:53:59

sorry one more - supposeng he says " well we have £10.56 in the bank account....thats property"

how is that different from capital - or is it?

does a trust have to be democratic - how do the trustees become trustees - do they get voted on by supposed beneficiaries within the area of benefit

KathH Wed 17-Aug-05 07:30:30

I think altho I'm not sure that to be a trust you have to have a trust deed. I know that if you're saying that you're a trust and you want to open a bank account then you have to show them the trust deed. It doesn't have to be for charitable purposes - lots of people set up trusts for their children/grandchildren etc. Agree that calling it an action group would be better as it doesn't really sound like a trust.

KathH Wed 17-Aug-05 07:31:40

Meant to add that trustees are chosen by the settlor ie the person who sets up the trust.

PrincessPeaHead Wed 17-Aug-05 10:57:55

you don't actually have to have a trust deed per se although as you say kath it is useful as a matter of evidence, eg if you want to open a bank account then you will need to. but plenty of trusts exist without.
custardo you really have to look at the purposes of the trust. it needs to exist for the purpose of holding property for someone. the fact that incidental to the purposes of the action group he is holding £10.56, doesn't make the action group a trust (although jsut to be confusing he is almost certainly holding the £10.56 IN trust for the action group, which just proves my point that you don't need a trust deed for a trust - they pop up all over the place. but that is confusing the issue).
trustees are appointed generally by the donor of the property held by the court, or are appointed by the court, or in some cases exist by operation of law (like your bloke holding £10 for someone that really owns it).

As I say it is a complicated and misunderstood area of law that I certainly am not qualified to advise on (I only know that bog standard law school basics) and you should really either get himself to call himself something else or else have a meeting and decide if it is appropriate for a trust to be constituted and do it properly in writing with agreed trustees etc. Although I don't think it is appropriate in this case. It might become appropriate if you put some sort of fighting fund in place, though.

PrincessPeaHead Wed 17-Aug-05 10:58:53

sorry, "donor of the property held by the trust" not "court"

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