Re Astor's Settlement Case Summary

Decent Essays
The essence of a trust lies in the principle that a settlor appoints a trustee, who then holds onto a property for a beneficiary. The trustee has power of the property but also duties to perform as a part of their role. The beneficiary is the ultimate owner and has all the associated rights to the property. The beneficiary principle states that in every non charitable trust there must be ascertainable beneficiaries. This means that there must be an actual human to which the court can decide in favour of. This rests on two propositions, firstly, a trust that cannot be enforced must fail. This view is widely accepted. The second view is that only beneficiaries can enforce trusts and this view is less accepted, as it is believed that beneficiaries…show more content…
In the facts of the case, a testator gave North Tawton Parish Council some money in order to ‘provide some useful memorial to myself.’ The trust was held to be invalid, as it was non-charitable, and there was no ascertainable beneficiary. This case followed on from the decision in Re Astor’s Settlement, where it was held that the need for a beneficiary is mandatory nature of the trust, thus if trustees are to be obligated, then there must be someone who can enforce their equitable right. In the case of Re Endacott, Re Astor’s Settlement was cited by Lord Evershed who stated that memorial not within his category of anomalous cases as to do so would ‘go far beyond any fair analogy to any of those decisions.’ However, Re Endacott also laid down some exceptions to the general rule that private purpose trusts are non-enforceable within the…show more content…
The rule is that one must be able to determine that before the end of the perpetuity period, that the trust will definitely come to an end. The perpetuity period defined as the age of the life in question, plus 21 years. However, the problem with private purpose trusts is that they often don’t have an ascertainable beneficiary, and so where this is the case, the court will define it as the twenty-one years. The perpetuity principle can be problematic in that where there is no named beneficiary, or where the trust is for the purpose of maintaining monuments as in the case of Re Hooper. However, in Re Hooper, the settlor had stated that the trustees were to carry out the purpose ‘as far as was legally possible’ and this was found to be ‘saving words,’ meaning that the trust was upheld and in line with the perpetuity principle. However, in the absence of such saving words, all trusts will fail. In Musset.v.Bingle there was no perpetuity period stated for the upkeep of the monument and it failed on that part, but was upheld on the actual erection of the monument, as it was assumed that the monument would be completed within 21
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