chapter  3
11 Pages

The Three Certainties

An express trust will not take effect unless the ‘three certainties’ are present: viz (a) certainty of words (or intention); (b) certainty of subject matter; and (c) certainty of objects.

The fundamental principle is that an express trust is created where the settlor shows an intention to do so. It is therefore necessary that the settlor’s intention to create a trust, as opposed to a mere moral obligation, be indicated with suffi cient certainty. It is a question of construction of the words used in the will or trust document, 1 coupled with any admissible extrinsic evidence, as to whether the settlor intended to establish a trust. Since ‘equity looks to the intent rather than the form’ of words used, there is no need for any precise technical expression to be employed.