It is obvious that different cultures have different ways of doing things and different ways of looking at the world. These differences often lead to radically different ways of thinking and reasoning about what is right. They also lead to entirely different ways of handling legal affairs. Consider, for example, how our estate laws would look if we did not have Trusts.
Some cultures do not have Trusts, at least that is an argument that is currently playing itself out in Hong Kong’s courts. Chinese business woman, Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, was once considered to be the wealthiest woman in Asia. When she passed away, a Will left everything to a charitable foundation. The government argues that Wang created a Trust and that the foundation must treat the money accordingly. However, the foundation argues that a Trust is an alien concept in China and that Wang may not have even known what one is, let alone intended to leave her fortune in such a foreign way.
It is interesting to think about how our laws and estates would be different without Trusts. In our culture the idea of a Trust seems obvious. Wang’s case illustrates that this is not true everywhere.