Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Express Trust Definition:

A trust which is clearly created by the settlor, usually in the form of a document (eg. a will), although they can be oral.

Related Terms: Trust

They are to be contrasted with other trusts which come to being through the operation of the law or which do not result from the clear intent or decision of any settlor to create a trust (eg. resulting trusts or constructive trust).

Hayton wrote, in 2003:

"Trusts ... created intentionally by the act of the settlor ... are called express trusts."

Lewin on Trusts adds:

"A general distinction might be drawn between express, resulting and constructive trusts on the basis that express trusts ... are founded on the express or inferred intention of the settlor, resulting trusts are founded on the presumed (but rebuttable) intention of the transferor or purchaser of the property, and constructive trusts are imposed on a person who holds title to property against his intention."


  • Hayton, David, Underhill and Hayton - Law Relating to Trusts and Trustees (London: Butterworths LexisNexis, 2003), page 53.
  • Mowbray, John and others, Lewin on Tusts, 17th Edition (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2000), page 181.

Categories & Topics:

Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only)

If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!