History of Trusts
A Simple Trust
In its' simplest form, a trust is created when you ask someone to watch your package, until your child arrives to pick it up, while you step away for a moment.
The original package owner (the creator-settlor) is naming a manager (trustee) to manage for the child (beneficiary-eventual owner). This temporary trust would be fulfilled when the package was delivered to the child, or returned to you (the original trustee).
That transaction does NOT give the manager-trustee the right to keep, sell, or gift the package to anyone else. In fact, it would be theft if he did any of those things. Of course, such an informal trust is pretty hard to control and may be ineffective. A verbal trust is pretty much unenforceable. Valuable trusts need to be very specific and be in writing to be worthwhile.
The Socrates Public Library Trust
The first trust in recorded history was created by Socrates to create a public library for the people of the city. The library became a public institution controlled by the politicians (the non-owner Trustee-managers) for the citizens (beneficiaries). Socrates did not want any owner to eventually dispose of the library or remove it from public use. Nor could he expect the library to maintain itself without significant management and maintenance. He didn't want a politician to be trusted with ownership. He then created the trust to solve all of these issues.
Public officials, wealthy people, famous celebrities, charities, social clubs, investors, and the rich have used trusts for centuries.
The Modern Use of Trusts
In recent times, homeowners, small business people, caretakers, the medically challenged, seniors, inventors, families, doctors, writers, and so many others, have used the same techniques to create privacy, protect assets and provide for their beneficiaries.