Trusts – some Ancient History
In today’s fast paced 21st Century world of escalating property prices, affordable and diverse property types that permit us to live in and as well use for investment, it may be understandable to think of the Trust as being a reasonably modern method of allowing a person to protect their assets. However the history of the Trust can be traced right back to Roman times who enjoyed using their ‘Fideicommissum’ (translatation from the Latin words ‘fides’ (trust) and committere (to commit) – literally meaning that ‘something is committed to one’s friend’.
According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fideicommissum the purpose of the fideicommissum made it possible to transfer the estate and the acceptance of this transfer was based directly on the Emperor’s Acts.
Holding property within the Roman family was of great importance for several reasons. It ensured the survival of the family, its name and wealth, it played a key role in the continuation of strong family worship, and it permitted the Roman aristocracy to rely on a necessary balance of power by enabling to regulate the succession of several generations by will. It was even a mechanism whereby a Roman family could legally free their slaves.
It seems then that the values held by our Roman ancestors with protection and continuation of personal wealth within the family are still strong messages that are relevant today.
The above article is based on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fideicommissum