The legal status of a heritage trust is dependent on the relevant national legal framework. It may be an ‘enabling’ legal environment or in some cases, one in which gaining legal status is difficult. For Commonwealth countries, the Charity Commission or its equivalent is an important source of guidance.
A key test in many countries is that of public benefit. Public benefit has two parts: a purpose must be beneficial in a way that is identifiable and capable of being proved by evidence where necessary and which is not based on personal views; and any detriment or harm that results from the purpose (to people, property or the environment) must not outweigh the benefit, also based on evidence and not on personal views. Ensuring compliance with local regulations will need particular care.