Trust Law: Private Ordering and the Branching of American Trust Law

The Oxford Handbook of New Private Law (Andrew S. Gold, John C.P. Goldberg, Daniel B. Kelly, Emily L. Sherwin, and Henry E. Smith, eds., 2021)

Yale Law & Economics Research Paper

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 19-46

20 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2019 Last revised: 30 Nov 2020

See all articles by John Morley

John Morley

Yale Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Robert H. Sitkoff

Harvard University - Harvard Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

In this chapter, prepared for The Oxford Handbook of New Private Law, we identify the principal ways in which the common law trust has been used as an instrument of private ordering in American practice. We argue that in both law and function, contemporary American trust law has divided into distinct branches. In our taxonomy, one branch involves donative trusts and the other commercial trusts. The donative branch divides further to include three separate sub-branches for revocable and irrevocable private trusts plus charitable trusts. We explain the logic of this branching in both practical function and doctrinal form.

Keywords: private law, new private law, trust law, private ordering, donative trust, business trust, commercial trust, irrevocable trust, donative trust, freedom of contract, freedom of disposition, fiduciary

JEL Classification: K11, K22, K36

Suggested Citation

Morley, John D. and Sitkoff, Robert H., Trust Law: Private Ordering and the Branching of American Trust Law (2020). The Oxford Handbook of New Private Law (Andrew S. Gold, John C.P. Goldberg, Daniel B. Kelly, Emily L. Sherwin, and Henry E. Smith, eds., 2021), Yale Law & Economics Research Paper, Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 19-46, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3387052

John D. Morley

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
(203) 436-3527 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium
(203) 436-3527 (Phone)

Robert H. Sitkoff (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Law School ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10813/Sitkoff

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

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