Saunders v Vautier (1841) 4 Beav 115

Key point

An adult beneficiary of a trust, who is of sound mind and is entitled to the whole beneficial interest, can direct the trustees to transfer the trust property to him or her. The trust will then be terminated.

Facts

  • A testator left East India Company shares in his will to trustees to accumulate the dividends until his son, Vautier, should attain the age of 25, upon which the trustees shall transfer the capital and dividends to him
  • Vautier having attained the age of 21, sought a transfer of the entire trust fund to himself

Held (High Court)

Vautier was entitled to have the entire fund transferred to him.

Lord Cottenham LC

‘…where a legacy is directed to accumulate for a certain period, or where the payment is postponed, the legatee, if he has an absolute indefeasible interest in the legacy, is not bound to wait until the expiration of that period, but may require payment the moment he is competent to give a valid discharge.’