Legal background to trusts & estates: settlor is a trustee
The settlor can appoint himself a trustee. As trustee he has a legal interest (TSEM6018) in the property. But he cannot do what he likes with the property. As a trustee he holds the assets in a fiduciary capacity. This means he must exercise rights and powers in good faith for the benefit of beneficiaries.
The trust property does not pass to the settlor’s personal representatives when he dies.