What is an honorary trust?
A honorary trust is a trust which does not have a specific human or legal entity (e.g., a corporation) as a beneficiary. Instead, the trust is intended to benefit something like a pet (requiring for the care of a pet) or a monument (requiring that a monument be built and/or maintained). These are called honorary trusts because the trustee is intended to be honorable in respecting and executing the purpose of the trust. Most states do not recognize such honorary trusts, which means that the property put into the trust reverts back to the settlor, who continues to own the property (and if the settlor has died, the property passes through the settlor’s will or through state intestacy statutes). However, a minority of states are willing to recognize such honorary trusts as long as they are not for an illegal purpose and are set for a specified duration of time.