Can a trust exist where there is no trust deed?

A court can impose a trust on equitable grounds against someone who obtained property through wrongdoing. The wrongdoer is reduced to a trustee and the title is restored in the rightful owner. This is called a constructive trust.

Generally, a trust exists by virtue of a document that sets forth the provisions of the trust, names the trustee(s) and adheres to the state requirements for a valid trust. That document is commonly called a Declaration of Trust. A trust exists independently whether it owns property or not.

Any property that is to be held in trust by the trustee must be transferred to the trust. If that property is real estate, the owner must execute a deed that transfers title to the trustee of the trust. By doing so the owner is giving up ownership. If there is no deed to the trustee then the real estate is not part of the trust property. The deed to the trustee is referred to as a trust deed or deed of trust. When the property is transferred out of the trust by the trustee that deed is called a trustee's deed.

In some jurisdictions a trust deed or deed of trust is the term used to describe a mortgage.