"Equity will not allow a trust to fail for want of a trustee" is a maxim of equity reflecting the principle that equity will not allow a trust to become ineffective or fail simply because there is no appointed trustee or a trustee is unable or unwilling to act.
In a trust arrangement, a trustee is responsible for managing and administering the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The trustee holds legal title to the trust assets but has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
If a trust is created without expressly naming a trustee or if the appointed trustee is unable or unwilling to fulfil their role, equity will step in to prevent the trust from failing. In such cases, the person or entity who holds legal title to the trust property will be deemed to act as a trustee, even if they were not originally intended to serve in that capacity.
This principle ensures that the intentions of the settlor (the person who establishes the trust) are respected and that the trust's purpose is not frustrated due to the absence of a trustee. It allows for the continuation of the trust and ensures that the beneficiaries can still benefit from the trust assets.
However, it is important to note that appointing a trustee is generally preferred and advisable to ensure proper administration and protection of the trust's interests. The court may also have the authority to appoint a trustee if necessary to ensure the effective operation of the trust.
You can learn more about this topic and relevant case law with our Equity and Trusts notes.