Equitable title

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A form of title to trust property held by the beneficiary, where legal title resides in the trustee and the courts recognize certain rights in favour of the former. While the trustee's interest in this property appears to be one of complete ownership and possession, the trustee does not have the right to receive any benefits from the property. Such a right belongs solely to the beneficiary and constitutes the very substance of the equitable title.

Possession of this title implies judicial recognition and enforcement of the beneficiary's right of enjoyment and use with respect to a particular asset or property under the principles of equity. Although separate courts with equitable jurisdiction no longer exist, the distinction between equitable and legal title remains an essential element of trust and property law. This is due to the continuing social utility of a rather unique form of relationship, in which one or more individuals hold property subject to certain duties of protection and management for the benefit of others.

See also trust, beneficiary, trustee, equity.

Trust Law