Trust law is one of the oldest statutes in English law. Although it is loosely based on Roman law, it’s “modern” day use is not very modern at all.
In the 12th century it was developed into the statute we know now.
This caused problems when the then King of England, King Richard the 1st wanted to set off on the third crusade. Prior crusades had seen families left destitute if their patriarch was killed whilst on crusade, so Richard came up with a plan.
The plan was that anybody fighting in the crusades could leave the deeds to their property in the protection of the Roman Catholic Church on trust that if they failed to return, the deeds would be restored to the family of the deceased.
This Trust formed the basis of the laws of Trust and Equity which are still in use today.
So a Trust is an instrument stating that the Settlor (person who owns the property) has transferred ownership to a Trust, managed by the Trustees for the benefit of others, the beneficiaries. The Settlor makes a statement as to how the Trust should be managed by his Trustees and if any of them do not comply with his wishes, they can, at will, be removed and replaced with a suitable Trustee.
In Wills, Trusts are created when the testator dies and his executors become Trustees of the Trust and must manage them in accordance with the wishes stated in the Will.