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Cover An Introduction to the Law of Trusts

9. Dispositive Discretions  

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter considers the questions that arise when trustees are given a dispositive discretion, i.e. the power to decide whom to pay, how much, and when. It first identifies five of the most important types of dispositive discretion: discretionary trusts; powers of appointment; powers of accumulation; powers of maintenance; and powers of advancement. It then turns to the duties and certainty requirements in trusts involving dispositive discretions. There are two main ones. The first is remaining within the terms of the disposition as laid down by the settlor (above all, paying only the right people). The other is handling the exercise of the discretion in a proper way. The chapter also discusses the proper bases for a decision and the depth of information with which trustees are required to equip themselves before making their decision.