The Settlor: is the (legal or natural) person who establishes the trust by way of gift of property and/or of contribution of estate to be held by the trustee in accordance with the settlor’s intentions.
The Trust Fund: represents assets transferred to the possession of a trustee under the terms of the trust. Assets can be cash, securities, real estate, shares of captive companies, equity units, works of art etc., and should be officially transferred to the trustee and be at his disposal. Normally each type of asset is held by a separate company owned by the trust.
The Trustees: is the legal representative of the trust and administers the trust in accordance with the terms of the trust deed. The trustee could be a corporate entity or a natural person.
The Beneficiaries: are the persons benefiting from the creation of the trust. For practical reasons they are construed as the beneficial owners of the trust fund to the degree and extent defined in the trust deed. They may be defined by name or by reference to a class of people (e.g. the settlor’s children etc.).
The Purposes: Many trusts do not have a beneficiary, human or otherwise, at all. A trust can instead be established to provide for payments towards the achievement of a purpose.
The Protector: usually chosen from among the close friends, family or independent professionals who are familiar with family and affairs of the settlor. Depending on the wishes of the settlor the functions of the protector can vary. Usually the protector is not engaged in current issues but he has veto authority regarding important decisions, for example capital and income distribution, designation or removal of a beneficiary, replacement of the trustee or appointment of a new trustee. The protector is not required in the trust concept.
The Trust Deed: is the document which sets up duties and powers of the trustee regarding the management of the trust fund, determines the period of trust, names beneficiaries and regulates the distribution of income and capital of the trust among beneficiaries or in their interest. With due consideration of his power in managing the trust fund the trustee considers changes in the situation of the settlor and beneficiaries, takes into account the wishes of the settlor during his life and after. In most trust jurisdictions trust deeds are not registered by the state, allowing the settlor, beneficiary and trustee still some confidentiality.