News & Insights

Guide to executor and trustee disputes – part 2

Disputes with Trustees

If you are concerned about the actions of a trustee we can provide you with specialised professional advice, including in relation to:

  • Requiring a trustee to give an account of trust property
  • Examining whether a trustee has behaved improperly and/or in breach of duty
  • Remedies for breach of trust/breach of fiduciary duties
  • Whether a trustee should be removed
  • Whether a professional trustee has been negligent/in breach of duty
  • The potential costs liability involved in trustee disputes

The manner in which removal of a trustee can be effected depends on a series of complex issues, including the nature of terms of the trust itself, whether the complainant is beneficially entitled under the trust, and in some circumstances, whether that entitlement amounts to an absolute interest.

In certain circumstances removal can take place without the Court’s involvement. In other cases an application to Court (which may be contested) must be made. Some trust instruments provide a mechanism, for example, for substitution of trustees. In certain cases the Court has an inherent jurisdiction in terms of the removal or replacement of trustees. The position may be affected depending on whether the reason for which removal is sought is misconduct in relation to the administration of the trust, or some other ground. A number of different and interrelated rules and statutes govern this complex area.

In terms of general principles the Court, if it needs to be involved, will have in mind the expedient and continuing administration of the trust and the interests of the beneficiaries. Mere “friction” between trustees, or between beneficiaries and trustees is rarely sufficient to warrant removal. The particular facts and history of the case will be key in every case.

If you require advice in connection with issues with trustees, or the administration of a trust contact us here: [email protected] or 0118 951 6245.