A trust may be established by a settlor during lifetime (‘inter vivos’) or by will, or it may arise automatically if someone dies intestate (i.e. without making a will).

An inter vivos trust may be oral (exceptionally rare but often a recipe for confusion) but it is eminently desirable to set out all the necessary provisions in a formal deed. Indeed, if the trust property comprises land, it is generally the case that the trust must be evidenced in writing. A will must be in writing and satisfy certain other formalities as to execution unless made by a person on active service in the armed forces, or a mariner or seaman at sea.

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