Trusts are confusing. Fundamentally, a trust describes a relationship, not a person. Thus, the California Supreme Court has described a trust as “a fiduciary relationship with respect to property in which the person holding legal title to the property — the trustee — has an equitable obligation to manage the property for the benefit of another — the beneficiary”. Moeller v. Superior Court, 16 Cal. 4th 1124, 1133-34 (Cal. 1997). However, numerous statutes include trusts within the definition of “person”, including, for example, Corporations Code Section 17701.02(v), which defines “person” for purposes of the California Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act to include a trust.
I am puzzled, however, about the legislature’s decision to amend Section 17701.02(v) to include a trustee of a trust within the definition of a person. It seems to me that this is both unnecessary and confusing. A trustee, however, isn’t just a trustee. He, she or it will invariably be something else – an individual, a corporation, a limited liability company or some other form of entity. Because the definition of “person” already includes these, there is no need to list a trustee separately.
Do Closely Held Corporation Have An Obligation To Disclose Financial Information?
UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge addresses the question in this post.