Passive Trust

“A passive trust is one in which the trustee is a mere passive depositary of the trust property, with no active duties to perform.  A passive or dry trust arises when property is vested in one person in trust for another and the nature of the trust, not being prescribed by the donor, is left to the construction of law.  A simple, dry, or passive trust is a simple conveyance of property to one upon trust for another without further specifications or directions.”  Dixon v. Dixon, 123 Me. 470 (1924.)

“It has been said that a passive trust is one in which the trustee is a mere passive depositary of the property, with no active duties to perform, and that an active trust is one which imposes upon the trustee the duty of taking active measures in the execution of the trust.”  Randolph v. Read, 129 Ark. 485 (1917).

“A trust may be active or passive.  An active trust is where the trustee has a duty to perform in relation to the property which calls for an exercise of judgment or discretion.  In such case, the trustee takes that legal title necessary to complete the original purpose of the trust.  A passive trust is where the trustee has no, or merely formal, duty in relation to the trust property. In such case, no interest passes to the trustee but the Statute of Uses (s 456.020, RSMo 1978) executes the legal estate so as to vest immediately in the beneficiary.  On the analogy of the Statute of Uses, and on separate principles of equity, a passive trust of personalty also is deemed executed.”  Penney v. White, 594 S.W.2d 632 (Mo. App. 1980).

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