Formalities – Perfect/Imperfect Trust Essay

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Formalities – Perfect/Imperfect Trust


The question in this case refers to the creation of a trust, i.e. the formalities that are required. In the case of Serena, she has created a trust that holds the property in trust for Alice for life and then the remainder goes to Alice’s children.

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On the death of Serena, there is a valid will where Alice gets all of the property and there is no interest for Alice’s children. Therefore, the following advice is going to identify a trust is in place, which will ensure that the property transfers to the children.

The Creation of a trust

The case of Milroy v Lord identifies a perfect trust, which includes; 1) a deed of the trust; and 2) transfer of the property following all formalities . Therefore, in the case of the trust created by Serena, both the property “Hillside” and the Jane Austin books have the capability of being part of a perfect trust. However, in the case of the land there are additional formalities, which will be discussed later. At this point there is a perfect trust that related to the books, because this is a case of a perfect trust, because there is both declaration and transfer of the books to the trustees . The share certificate and cheque are not in the deed documents, but have been transferred to the trustee with the declaration “to be added to the trust”. This is not a full deed, but applying the case of Milroy v Lord it is a declaration plus transfer of the property, which means that it has a capability of being a trust under Neville v Wilson and Vandervell v IRC . The argument still remains on whether the formalities have been fulfilled in the case of the land, shares and cheque which can be a contentious subject.

The need for formalities?

The case of Neville v Wilson held that the formalities of a trust need not be in writing if it can be shown that intention is present; however, problems have arisen in showing this intention, which is why the Statute of Fraud 1677 introduced the need formalities A similar argument that there is no need for formalities was expressed in the case of Walsh v Lonsdale in 1882; however as it can be seen in 1925 the formalities were required for all property under a trust. However, it seems to be that the argument for these formalities is that they clarify the intention of the settlor. S. 53(1)(c) of the Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925) is now the defining piece of legislation for where trust formalities can be identified. In the case of Timpson’s Executers v Yerbury it was held that the formalities of a trust can be identified in the written disposition of the trust and the transferring of the property to the trustees.

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