Who may be Trustee?

Who may be Trustee?

According to Section 10– Every person capable of holding property may be a trustee; but, where the trust involves the exercise of discretion, he cannot execute it unless he is competent to contract.

No one bound to accept trust. —No one is bound to accept a trust.

Acceptance of trust. —A trust is accepted by any words or acts of the trustee indicating with reasonable certainty such acceptance.

Disclaimer of trust — Instead of accepting a trust, the intended trustee may, within a reasonable period, disclaim it, and such disclaimer shall prevent the trust-property from vesting in him. A disclaimer by one of two or more co-trustees vests the trust-property in the other or others, and makes him or them sole trustee or trustees from the date of the creation of the trust.

In order to become a trustee, the first essential requirement is of being competent to hold a property. In cases where the trust holds an element of discretion, a person can act as a trustee only when he is competent to contract. For a trust, more than one person can be appointed as the trustee. Once a person is offered to become a trustee, it is not necessary that he or she necessarily accepts or is bound to accept the trusteeship. However, the trust cannot come to an end in case of no trusteeship. In absence of a trustee, the court may appoint a trustee for administration purposes.

On the other hand, in the case of a private trust, beneficiaries are predetermined or ascertained individuals. However, in the case of a public trust, the number of beneficiaries cannot be ascertained. They may be fluctuating.

Anyone capable of taking physical possession of or legal title of the property can be a trustee. And there is no limit to the number of trustees to hold the position in one trust. Generally there are more than one trustee , the trustees, with respect to each other, are referred to as co-trustees, and when acting jointly as a collective body are referred to as the Board of Trustees .The trustee should be at least someone capable and fit for executing the powers and duties honorably.

The trustee should be stationed within the jurisdiction of the court where the trust is located. But where the trust property is portable land, the trustee need not be stationed within any single jurisdiction. Non residency will not disqualify or preclude the trustee from carrying out his position; non residents of the state in which the trust is to be administered can be trustees. State law determines whether an alien can act as a trustee.

A corporation can act as a trustee

A corporation is capable of accepting the ownership of property with an obligation annexed to the ownership for the benefit of another which may be a class of persons, there can be no objection to a corporation acting as a trustee. This is a well-established proposition from the time of the decision of the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords in Salomon v. Salomon and Company Ltd which has been followed in India by the Supreme Court and it has held that a juristic person can carry on all human activities subject to such limitation as arise from its not being a natural person and the limitations imposed upon it activities by its own charter contained in the objects clause in the memorandum of association

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