Article 2 of the Hague Convention reads as follows:

For the purposes of this Convention, the term “trust” refers to the legal relationships created – inter-vivos or on death – by a person, the settlor, when assets have been placed under the control of a trustee for the benefit of a beneficiary or for a specified purpose.

A trust has the following characteristics –

a) the assets constitute a separate fund and are not a part of the trustee’s own estate;

b) title to the trust assets stands in the name of the trustee or in the name of another person on behalf of the trustee;

c) the trustee has the power and the duty, in respect of which he is accountable, to manage, employ or
dispose of the assets in accordance with the terms of the trust and the special duties imposed upon him by law.

The reservation by the settlor of certain rights and powers, and the fact that the trustee may himself have rights as a beneficiary, are not necessarily inconsistent with the existence of a trust.


The terms trust and trustee should be understood as described in and consistent with Article 2 of the Hague Convention on the law applicable to trusts and their recognition.

Trustees may be professional (e.g. depending on the jurisdiction, a lawyer or trust company) if they are paid to act as a trustee in the course of their business, or non-professional (e.g. a person acting without reward on behalf of family).


Settlors are natural or legal persons who transfer ownership of their assets to trustees by means of a trust deed or similar arrangement.