Trust Disputes

Advice and assistance from Cohen Cramer Solicitors

Trustees have to abide by duties set by law and also by the trust document.  A trustee can be held personally liable for any loss to the trust due to breaching these duties. If you a trustee in dispute with other trustees or beneficiaries Cohen Cramer can provide trustees with the advice and help. 

Sometimes disputes can arise between trustees themselves which need to be resolved in order to carry out the purpose of the trust.

Typical scenarios relating to trust disputes 

 I was meant to inherit a trust fund when I turned 18 but it has not been paid to me what can I do?

If you became absolutely entitled to the trust fund on reaching 18 the trustees are in breach of trust if they withhold it from you.  You can commence a claim through the courts to recover the trust funds from the trustees.

 I am a trustee but don’t know much about investments what should I do?

As a non professional trustee you have a duty to invest the trust as a reasonable businessman would.  This may mean that, if you don’t have the knowledge yourself you should take professional advice to ensure that the trust is properly invested.

 I am a trustee and do not agree with a co-trustees actions, what can I do?

Trustees must act unanimously and can be liable for the actions of co-trustees.  If you are not able to agree or a co-trustee is acting in breach of the trust you can apply to court to have them removed or replaced.

 I have been named as a trustee but I don’t want to do it

You cannot be forced to act as a trustee.  Likewise if you have been acting as a trustee and want to retire you can do so however you may need to find a replacement.

I am the beneficiary of a trust what rights do I have ?

This will depend on the type of trust and what is in the trust document.  You may be entitled to the income and money contained within the trust outright or it may be that it is at the discretion of the trustees as to what you receive and when.  You have a right to see the trust document. The trustees also have to act in your best interests.

 I am not happy with a trustee what can I do?

In certain circumstances beneficiaries can demand that a trustee steps down.  Alternatively if a trustee has been acting in breach of the trust i.e. has not been acting in accordance with the terms set out in the trust document then you can apply to court to have him or her removed or replaced.

If you are a trustee or beneficiary of a trust it is important that any disputes are acted on as soon as possible. 

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