parents were shopkeepers, and in my childhood environment,
there was special relationship between shopkeeper and customer
called trus. The Dictionary on Caribbean English
Usage, gives its meaning as " to sell goods on credit.
In our environment it was a verbal agreement, without collateral,
no written contract, and based upon the shopkeepers
The concept of trus has its origins in earlier times
when the words use and trust were
interchangeable. In fact under British Law, in 1536, the concept
of transferring legal title of property to a trustee, was
documented in the Statute of Uses.
Today, that word trust more commonly refers to a written legal
agreement whereby property title is transferred to a fiduciary
agent, called a trustee. The trustee is charged with managing
the property with care and diligence, for the benefit of a
third party called the beneficiary.
The party that creates the trust is called the grantor.
The beneficiary has what is called equitable ownership.
The trustee is the one deemed to have expertise in financial
There are significant uses for establishing a trust:
n To outsource a competent authority skilled in astute property
and money management, in light of our own admission of ignorance
in the field.
n To protect property and assets for adult beneficiaries who
do not themselves have the requisite knowledge, judgement
or ethic. It avoids the possibility of heirs squandering wealth
that they did not themselves accumulate.
n To protect the assets in the interest of minors. A fourth
use would be to prolong the life of an estate by staggering
the release of funds and other assets over many years.
n To allow the grantor to see during his lifetime, whether
those heirs who he believes to be competent, are in fact competent.
Since the heirs will have access to certain assets to use
as they wish. If the grantor is dissatisfied with what he
sees, then the trust can be revoked.
n Though it sounds a bit bigoted, trusts can be used to manage
the estate from the grave
The outcome from use of a trust would in fact give the owner
of the wealth some form of security, that his family will
be protected and enjoy financial security for many years.
Note that trust agreements or deeds, or instruments as they
are variously called, in any typical jurisdiction, do not
run indefinitely. At some point, commonly 21 years after the
creation of the trust, the property must revert to the mainstream
economy. This is a common law rule in most jurisdictions,
referred to as the rule against perpetuities.
The date of creation of the trust will vary according to whether
it is created by Will, or during the lifetime of the grantor,
and whether it is a revocable trust or one that is irrevocable.
It is possible to put into the trust instrument a spendthrift
provision. Typically such a provision restricts against
attachment by creditors of trust assets. The creditor can
be either creditors of the equitable owners or of the grantor
himself. This seeks to protect us from our own indiscretions.
Another useful provision in trusts is the selection of a successor
trustee, in the event that the one initially appointed ceases
to exist, or resigns.
If you thought trusts were only for the rich, consider this.
You can put away $5,000 now for 21 years, and if left alone,
you can accumulate $30,000 for the benefit of any heir that
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