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Duties And Interests Notes

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Duties and Interests

1. Beneficial Interests under Fixed Trusts Beneficiaries' rights:

1. Alienate his or her interest to a third party - Provided B's interest is not made subject to some condition precedent or subsequent that causes it to divest, then B has a vested interest which he may alienate to another. This may happen on his death through a testamentary gift, or on insolvency by an assignment to the T in bankruptcy Insolvency Act 1986, s.283(1)(3)(a) (cf. protective trusts). Restraints on alienation are generally regarded as void on the ground that they are contrary to public policy. Assignment - B typically alienates his interest under the trust through a direct assignment. The assignee becomes the new beneficiary of the trust (see further lectures on formalities). Law of Property Act 1925, s.53(1)(c) - Beneficiaries can assign rights inter vivos voluntarily to a third party, and the third party stands in your shoes and has trust claims against the original trustee. He stands in your shoes. Complicated formalities apply.

2. The rights of the absolute BO of the trust property under Saunders v. Vautier (a) The rule in Saunders v. Vautier - If B is sui iuris (of full legal age and capacity) and is absolutely entitled to the trust fund then he can direct T to convey the outstanding legal interest in the property to himself - so T's legal title merges with B's absolute equitable interest = full owner. Absolute B interest may be divided among more than one B.

- Saunders v. Vautier (1841); Facts: B was absolutely entitled to the income of the trust fund, but trust instrument stated he was not allowed possession of income until he was aged 25. B was 21 at the time (sui iuris) and wanted to wind up the trust. Decision: The age condition was not a condition to the vesting of the gift - he was absolutely entitled. Had it have been a condition precedent he would not have been absolutely entitled. NB. In a bare trust a B is absolutely entitled. Saunders is not a bare trust, but here there was active management going on. Unlike Brockbank...
- Re Brockbank [1948]; Facts: Trust of a life interest and a remainder to the surviving children. Neither one or the other is entitled, but collectively they could terminate the trust. Decision: One B standing alone may not be absolutely entitled, but all Bs collectively are entitled to the entirety of the trust fund. So if all Bs are sui iuris they can collectively exercise Saunders v Vautier. This right may even enforced against a trustee who has active duties and powers under the trust, and who is not strictly a bare trustee.Herdegen v. Federal Commissioner of Taxation (1988);

(b) Rationale - If the whole point of setting up a trust is to control property, why allowed trusts to be broken up?



Powers of control over property remain in line with beneficial ownership of the same property. Once beneficial ownership is entirely in a new group of people they should be allowed the right to control property. Rule encourages the free alienability of property by removing restraints imposed by the settlor (cf. Rule against Perpetuities).

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