Ask Difference

Trust vs. Foundation — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on September 24, 2023
A Trust is a legal entity where assets are held and managed for beneficiaries, while a Foundation is an organization set up to finance charitable, educational, or other specific objectives.
Trust vs. Foundation — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Trust and Foundation

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Key Differences

Trust and Foundation, both central to philanthropic activities, vary in their structure and purpose. A Trust is essentially a relationship in which one party holds assets for the benefit of another, often guided by a trust deed or agreement.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 24, 2023
Foundations, on the other hand, operate more like corporations with an established endowment and a clear mission. They typically are entities that generate income, part or all of which is used to finance charitable, educational, religious, or other specified objectives.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 24, 2023
Trusts might have a broader scope, potentially set up for various reasons, including wealth management, estate planning, or charitable causes. They're generally more flexible in operation and might not always have a philanthropic angle.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 24, 2023
Foundations are often more structured, requiring a board of directors or trustees, and they adhere to stringent guidelines pertaining to distribution of funds, regulatory requirements, and public disclosures. Their primary aim is usually philanthropic, research-based, or educational.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 24, 2023
In essence, while Trusts manage assets on behalf of beneficiaries with more flexibility, Foundations are more organized institutions driven by a specific mission or cause, largely philanthropic in nature.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 24, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Nature

Legal relationship
Organized entity
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Primary Purpose

Asset management for beneficiaries
Finance charitable/educational/other specific objectives
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Structure

Governed by a trust deed or agreement
Typically requires board of directors or trustees
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Flexibility

More flexible in operation
More structured with specific guidelines
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Common Objective

Can be for wealth management, estate planning, or charity
Primarily philanthropic, research, or educational
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Compare with Definitions

Trust

A structure where trustees manage assets for designated beneficiaries.
The Trust provided ongoing support for the orphanage.
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Sep 19, 2023

Foundation

An entity created with assets dedicated to social, educational, or other specific purposes.
The Foundation's grants have changed the lives of many in the community.
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Sep 19, 2023

Trust

Firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; confidence or reliance
Trying to gain our clients' trust.
Taking it on trust that our friend is telling the truth.
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

An institution financed to support charitable, educational, or other specific objectives.
The Foundation has been instrumental in providing scholarships to underprivileged students.
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Sep 19, 2023

Trust

The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one
Violated a public trust.
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

A legal entity established to fund and oversee charitable activities.
The city's art Foundation sponsors annual exhibitions for emerging artists.
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Sep 19, 2023

Trust

One in which confidence is placed.
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Foundation

The act of founding, especially the establishment of an institution with provisions for future maintenance.
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Trust

Custody; care
Left her papers in my trust during her illness.
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Foundation

(Architecture) A wall or other structure, as of concrete or masonry, usually extending below ground level and forming the base upon which a building rests.
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Trust

Something committed into the care of another; a charge
Violated a public trust.
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Foundation

Something that gives rise to or supports something else.
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Trust

Reliance on something in the future; hope
We have trust that the future will be better.
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Foundation

The act of founding, fixing, establishing, or beginning to erect.
The foundation of his institute has been wrought with difficulty.
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Trust

Reliance on the intention and ability of a purchaser to pay in the future; credit
Bought the supplies on trust from a local dealer.
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Foundation

That upon which anything is founded; that on which anything stands, and by which it is supported; the lowest and supporting layer of a superstructure; underbuilding.
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Trust

A legal relationship in which one party holds a title to property while another party has the entitlement to the beneficial use of that property.
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Foundation

(figurative) The result of the work to begin something; that which stabilizes and allows an enterprise or system to develop.
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Trust

The confidence reposed in a trustee when giving the trustee legal title to property to administer for another, together with the trustee's obligation regarding that property and the beneficiary.
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Foundation

(card games) In solitaire or patience games, one of the piles of cards that the player attempts to build, usually holding all cards of a suit in ascending order.
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Trust

The property so held.
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Foundation

(architecture) The lowest and supporting part or member of a wall, including the base course and footing courses; in a frame house, the whole substructure of masonry.
The foundations of this construction have been laid out.
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Trust

An institution or organization directed by trustees
A charitable trust.
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Foundation

A donation or legacy appropriated to support a charitable institution, and constituting a permanent fund; endowment.
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Trust

A combination of firms or corporations for the purpose of reducing competition and controlling prices throughout a business or industry.
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Foundation

That which is founded, or established by endowment; an endowed institution or charity.
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the parent organization of the Wiktionary collaborative project.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

To have or place confidence in; depend on
Only trusted his friends.
Did not trust the strength of the thin rope.
Could not be trusted to oversee so much money.
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

(cosmetics) Cosmetic cream roughly skin-colored, designed to make the face appear uniform in color and texture.
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Trust

To have confidence in allowing (someone) to use, know, or look after something
Can I trust you with a secret?.
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Foundation

A basis for social bodies or intellectual disciplines.
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Trust

To expect with assurance; assume
I trust that you will be on time.
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Foundation

The act of founding, fixing, establishing, or beginning to erect.
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Trust

To give credence to; believe
I trust what you say.
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

That upon which anything is founded; that on which anything stands, and by which it is supported; the lowest and supporting layer of a superstructure; groundwork; basis.
Behold, I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a stone . . . a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.
The foundation of a free common wealth.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

To place in the care of another person or in a situation deemed safe; entrust
"the unfortunate souls who trusted their retirement savings to the stock" (Bill Barnhart).
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

A donation or legacy appropriated to support a charitable institution, and constituting a permanent fund; endowment.
He was entered on the foundation of Westminster.
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Trust

To extend credit to.
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Foundation

That which is founded, or established by endowment; an endowed institution or charity; as, the Ford Foundation.
Against the canon laws of our foundation.
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Trust

To have or place reliance; depend
We can only trust in our guide's knowledge of the terrain.
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Foundation

The basis on which something is grounded;
There is little foundation for his objections
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Trust

To be confident; hope.
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Foundation

An institution supported by an endowment
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Trust

Confidence in or reliance on some person or quality.
He needs to regain her trust if he is ever going to win her back.
To lose trust in someone
Build up trust
A relationship built on mutual trust
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

The fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained;
The whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture
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Trust

Dependence upon something in the future; hope.
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Foundation

Lowest support of a structure;
It was built on a base of solid rock
He stood at the foot of the tower
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Trust

Confidence in the future payment for goods or services supplied; credit.
I was out of cash, but the landlady let me have it on trust.
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Sep 17, 2023

Foundation

Education or instruction in the fundamentals of a field of knowledge;
He lacks the foundation necessary for advanced study
A good grounding in mathematics
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Trust

That which is committed or entrusted; something received in confidence; a charge.
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Foundation

A woman's undergarment worn to give shape to the contours of the body
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Trust

That upon which confidence is reposed; ground of reliance; hope.
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Foundation

The act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new;
She looked forward to her initiation as an adult
The foundation of a new scientific society
He regards the fork as a modern introduction
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Trust

(rare) Trustworthiness, reliability.
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Foundation

An organization set up with an endowment to aid a particular cause.
The health Foundation funded research on rare diseases.
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Trust

The condition or obligation of one to whom anything is confided; responsible charge or office.
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Foundation

An institution that channels resources, usually donations, to serve a defined mission.
The wildlife Foundation focuses on the preservation of endangered species.
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Trust

(legal) The confidence vested in a person who has legal ownership of a property to manage for the benefit of another.
I put the house into my sister's trust.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

(legal) An arrangement whereby property or money is given to be held by a third party (a trustee), on the basis that it will be managed for the benefit of, or eventually transferred to, a stated beneficiary; for example, money to be given to a child when he or she reaches adulthood.
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Trust

A group of businessmen or traders organised for mutual benefit to produce and distribute specific commodities or services, and managed by a central body of trustees.
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Trust

(computing) Affirmation of the access rights of a user of a computer system.
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Trust

(transitive) To place confidence in, to rely on, to confide in.
We cannot trust anyone who deceives us.
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Trust

To have faith in; to rely on for continuing support or aid.
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Trust

(transitive) To give credence to; to believe; to credit.
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Trust

(transitive) To hope confidently; to believe (usually with a phrase or infinitive clause as the object)
I trust you have cleaned your room?
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Trust

(transitive) to show confidence in a person by entrusting them with something.
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Trust

(transitive) To commit, as to one's care; to entrust.
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Trust

(transitive) To give credit to; to sell to upon credit, or in confidence of future payment.
Merchants and manufacturers trust their customers annually with goods.
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Trust

To rely on (something), as though having trust (on it).
To trust to luck
Having lost the book, he had to trust to his memory for further details.
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Trust

To risk; to venture confidently.
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Trust

(intransitive) To have trust; to be credulous; to be won to confidence; to confide.
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Trust

To sell or deliver anything in reliance upon a promise of payment; to give credit.
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Trust

(obsolete) Secure, safe.
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Trust

(obsolete) Faithful, dependable.
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Trust

(legal) of or relating to a trust.
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Trust

Assured resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle, of another person; confidence; reliance; reliance.
Most take things upon trust.
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Trust

Credit given; especially, delivery of property or merchandise in reliance upon future payment; exchange without immediate receipt of an equivalent; as, to sell or buy goods on trust.
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Trust

Assured anticipation; dependence upon something future or contingent, as if present or actual; hope; belief.
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemedEqual in strength.
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Trust

That which is committed or intrusted to one; something received in confidence; charge; deposit.
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Trust

The condition or obligation of one to whom anything is confided; responsible charge or office.
[I] serve him truly that will put me in trust.
Reward them well, if they observe their trust.
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Trust

That upon which confidence is reposed; ground of reliance; hope.
O Lord God, thou art my trust from my youth.
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Trust

An estate devised or granted in confidence that the devisee or grantee shall convey it, or dispose of the profits, at the will, or for the benefit, of another; an estate held for the use of another; a confidence respecting property reposed in one person, who is termed the trustee, for the benefit of another, who is called the cestui que trust.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

An equitable right or interest in property distinct from the legal ownership thereof; a use (as it existed before the Statute of Uses); also, a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another. Trusts are active, or special, express, implied, constructive, etc. In a passive trust the trustee simply has title to the trust property, while its control and management are in the beneficiary.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

A business organization or combination consisting of a number of firms or corporations operating, and often united, under an agreement creating a trust (in sense 1), esp. one formed mainly for the purpose of regulating the supply and price of commodities, etc.; often, opprobriously, a combination formed for the purpose of controlling or monopolizing a trade, industry, or business, by doing acts in restraint or trade; as, a sugar trust. A trust may take the form of a corporation or of a body of persons or corporations acting together by mutual arrangement, as under a contract or a so-called gentlemen's agreement. When it consists of corporations it may be effected by putting a majority of their stock either in the hands of a board of trustees (whence the name trust for the combination) or by transferring a majority to a holding company. The advantages of a trust are partly due to the economies made possible in carrying on a large business, as well as the doing away with competition. In the United States severe statutes against trusts have been passed by the Federal government and in many States, with elaborate statutory definitions.
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Trust

Held in trust; as, trust property; trustmoney.
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Trust

To place confidence in; to rely on, to confide, or repose faith, in; as, we can not trust those who have deceived us.
I will never trust his word after.
He that trusts every one without reserve will at last be deceived.
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Trust

To give credence to; to believe; to credit.
Trust me, you look well.
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Trust

To hope confidently; to believe; - usually with a phrase or infinitive clause as the object.
I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face.
We trustwe have a good conscience.
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Trust

To show confidence in a person by intrusting (him) with something.
Whom, with your power and fortune, sir, you trust,Now to suspect is vain.
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Trust

To commit, as to one's care; to intrust.
Merchants were not willing to trust precious cargoes to any custody but that of a man-of-war.
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Trust

To give credit to; to sell to upon credit, or in confidence of future payment; as, merchants and manufacturers trust their customers annually with goods.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

To risk; to venture confidently.
[Beguiled] by theeto trust thee from my side.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

To have trust; to be credulous; to be won to confidence; to confide.
More to know could not be more to trust.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

To be confident, as of something future; to hope.
I will trust and not be afraid.
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Sep 17, 2023

Trust

To sell or deliver anything in reliance upon a promise of payment; to give credit.
It is happier sometimes to be cheated than not to trust.
Her widening streets on new foundations trust.
They trusted unto the liers in wait.
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Trust

Something (as property) held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary);
He is the beneficiary of a generous trust set up by his father
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Trust

Certainty based on past experience;
He wrote the paper with considerable reliance on the work of other scientists
He put more trust in his own two legs than in the gun
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Trust

The trait of trusting; of believing in the honesty and reliability of others;
The experience destroyed his trust and personal dignity
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Trust

A consortium of independent organizations formed to limit competition by controlling the production and distribution of a product or service;
They set up the trust in the hope of gaining a monopoly
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Trust

Complete confidence in a person or plan etc;
He cherished the faith of a good woman
The doctor-patient relationship is based on trust
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Trust

A trustful relationship;
He took me into his confidence
He betrayed their trust
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Trust

Have confidence or faith in;
We can trust in God
Rely on your friends
Bank on your good education
I swear by my grandmother's recipes
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Trust

Allow without fear
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Trust

Be confident about something;
I believe that he will come back from the war
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Trust

Expect and wish;
I trust you will behave better from now on
I hope she understands that she cannot expect a raise
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Trust

Confer a trust upon;
The messenger was entrusted with the general's secret
I commit my soul to God
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Trust

Extend credit to
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Trust

A fiduciary relationship where assets are held for beneficiaries.
The grandmother set up a Trust for her grandchildren's education.
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Trust

An arrangement where property is managed by one party for another's benefit.
The Trust ensured the family's wealth was distributed fairly among the heirs.
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Trust

A legal entity created to hold and manage assets.
The celebrity established a Trust to protect his earnings.
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Trust

An entity designed to safeguard assets and ensure they serve a specific purpose.
The parents' Trust ensured support for their child with special needs.
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Common Curiosities

What's the primary difference between a Trust and a Foundation?

A Trust manages assets for beneficiaries, while a Foundation finances specific objectives, often charitable.
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Can a Trust fund a Foundation?

Yes, a Trust's assets can be directed towards funding a Foundation.
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What's the main advantage of setting up a Foundation?

Foundations provide a structured way to support causes and often come with tax and organizational benefits.
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Do Foundations pay taxes?

Non-profit Foundations typically have tax-exempt status, but specifics depend on jurisdiction and activities.
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Can a Trust be charitable in nature?

Yes, Trusts can be established for charitable purposes, known as charitable trusts.
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How long can a Foundation operate?

Foundations can operate indefinitely, as long as they fulfill their mission and comply with regulatory requirements.
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Do Foundations require a board or governance structure?

Most Foundations have a board or governance structure to oversee their activities and finances.
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Are Foundations always non-profit entities?

Most Foundations have a non-profit status, but it depends on their objective and jurisdiction.
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How are Foundations usually funded?

Foundations are often funded through endowments, donations, or specific fundraising activities.
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Who oversees the assets in a Trust?

Trustees are responsible for managing and overseeing Trust assets.
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Are Trusts transparent entities?

Trusts may have varying levels of transparency depending on their purpose and jurisdiction.
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Can Trust beneficiaries be organizations?

Yes, beneficiaries can be individuals, groups, or organizations.
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Is it challenging to alter the terms of a Trust?

Depending on the type of Trust, some might be irrevocable, making alterations difficult, while others are more flexible.
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Can a Trust have multiple beneficiaries?

Yes, a Trust can be set up for the benefit of multiple parties.
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How does a Foundation differ from a regular non-profit organization?

While both aim for public benefit, a Foundation typically has an endowment or consistent funding source, whereas a non-profit might rely more on fundraising.
Tayyaba Rehman
Sep 24, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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