This article argues that a liberal theory of property rights can help us resolve a century old debate about a foundational aspect of the trust, namely, the nature of the beneficiary's interest. According to orthodoxy, the beneficiary has a (weak form) of proprietary right to the trust res. But proponents of this view found it hard to defend it from attacks by Maitland and his successors who argue that central aspects of the beneficiary's right imply that the beneficiary's rights should be classified as a personal right against the trustee. The reason for their failure, we argue, is the misguided picture of property rights, as essentially the right to exclude, which they share with proponents of the obligation theory. Liberal property theory, by contrast, gives pride of place to divided ownership, of the kind exemplified by the trust, and accounts for all aspects of the beneficiary's right.