Contentious Trusts

At Forbes Solicitors, our contentious trust solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with trust disputes, and we can advise and represent you on a wide range of contentious trust issues.

More about Contentious Trusts

Trusts are often used to protect assets and provide for beneficiaries, but disputes can arise if the terms of the trust are unclear or if there are disagreements between trustees or beneficiaries. Dealing with the aftermath of the passing of a loved one can be a very difficult time. There are practicalities that need to be handled as well as the grief and loss, which can be very stressful and upsetting. This can be made even more complicated if there are issues with the Will of the deceased, or their estate, which don't seem right to you and are in dispute.

Often, when there is a dispute over a trust, the issues can be between family members, which can be highly distressing for those involved. They may also be unsure about the Probate process or how to go about challenging something that they don't believe is right or follows the wishes of the deceased. As highly experienced contentious trusts and probate solicitors, with a proven track record of successful outcomes when challenging Wills, Probate and Trusts, our team can help you to find a legal resolution to the issue.

Get in touch with our team today for more information if you're looking for expert contentious trusts solicitors. Call us on 0800 689 3607.

What is a contentious trust?

What is a contentious trust?

A trust is a legal way of dividing ownership of assets between beneficiaries in the event of someone's death. A trust means that a third party (a trustee or group of trustees) will be in control of the asset(s) on behalf of the beneficiaries. They are often used in estate planning because trusts can usually be managed outside of probate, which means that the beneficiaries can sometimes gain access to the asset(s) more quickly than if left through a standard Will. There can also be tax benefits of using trusts in some circumstances. Sometimes trusts are used to hold assets for children to safeguard their inheritance until they are of an age when they can manage it themselves.

A trust can be considered to be contentious if there is a dispute over the trust document itself, the behaviour of the trustee(s) or if there are concerns about the trust not reflecting the wishes of the deceased. Trust disputes can have serious consequences for both the trustee(s) and beneficiaries, but if a trust isn't being handled as it should, lasting harm can be done to the trust and assets if it goes unchallenged.

There are a number of different reasons why a dispute may arise over a trust and may be valid grounds for challenging it, which include:

  • If a trustee breaches the trust through negligence or fraud

  • If a trustee fails to report a breach of trust by a co-trustee

  • If a trustee is not carrying out their duties in relation to the trust

  • If the trust document itself is unclear, ambiguous or contains errors

  • If there is a belief that the settlor (the person who set the trust up) was unfairly influenced during the process or lacked the mental capacity to do so at the time

  • If there is a belief that the settlor was given negligence tax or legal advice when setting up the trust

  • If there is a belief that the trust isn't an accurate reflection of the wishes of the deceased

  • If the trust stops those who are financially dependent or creditors from claiming the assets to an estate

  • If the trust is believed to have been created to disguise the real ownership of the assets.

What to do if you think that a trust is contentious

What to do if you think that a trust is contentious

If you are considering disputing a trust, it can be a very difficult thing to do. It could be that the individual or group involved are family members or known to you, which can complicate matters further. However, if you have real concerns about the way the trust is being handled or its validity, speaking to an experienced contentious trusts solicitor can help you to determine whether it's something you can and should proceed with.

Forbes Solicitors can help you to find out if you have a legal basis on which to dispute the trust and help you understand how the whole process works, so you know what to expect at every stage.

Time limits for challenging a contentious trust

Time limits for challenging a contentious trust

There are time limits for making a claim about some kinds of trust disputes, and these can vary, depending on the grounds and evidence for the challenge. Ideally, a claim for breach of trust should be brought as soon as possible after the breach occurred or was discovered, to give the best chance of a positive outcome.

At Forbes Solicitors, we understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one and then go on to have doubts or concerns about a trust that they created. We always treat every case and client with sensitivity and strive to achieve the best possible result each time, always keeping you informed about the status of your claim and what you might expect to happen next.

If you're considering challenging a contentious trust, get in touch with our team for more information about the next steps. Call us on 0800 689 3607, request a call back or enquire online.

Why choose our contentious trust solicitors?

Why choose our contentious trust solicitors?

Our contentious trust solicitors are dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to our clients. With years of experience and a deep understanding of trust law, we are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, attention to detail, and client-focused approach. Our team of solicitors is highly skilled and knowledgeable, and we work tirelessly to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. Choose us for expert legal advice and representation in all contentious trust matters.

How can our contentious trust lawyers help?

The team of contentious trust lawyers can help by providing legal advice and representation in disputes related to trusts, including breach of trust, mismanagement of trust assets, disputes between trustees and beneficiaries, and challenges to the validity of a trust. We can assist in negotiating settlements, mediating disputes, and representing clients in court proceedings. Our goal is to protect our clients' interests and ensure that their rights are upheld in trust-related matters.

Contentious Trusts FAQs

What are the common reasons for a trust to become contentious?

Common reasons for a trust to become contentious include disputes over the interpretation of the trust deed, disagreements between beneficiaries and trustees, allegations of breach of trust or misconduct by trustees, and challenges to the validity of the trust. Other factors such as family dynamics, personal relationships, and financial interests can also contribute to trust disputes.

How can a contentious trust be resolved?

A contentious trust can be resolved through mediation, negotiation, or litigation. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps the parties reach a settlement. Negotiation involves the parties discussing and agreeing on a resolution without the involvement of a third party. Litigation involves taking the matter to court, where a judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented. The resolution will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the applicable laws.

What is the role of a contentious trust solicitor?

A contentious trust solicitor is responsible for providing legal advice and representation in disputes related to trusts, such as disagreements over the interpretation of trust documents, breach of trust, or disputes between beneficiaries. They work to protect the interests of their clients.

How long does it take to resolve a contentious trust?

The length of time it takes to resolve a contentious trust can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the parties to reach a settlement. It can take anywhere from several months to several years to resolve a contentious trust dispute.

Can a trust be contested after the death of the settlor?

Yes, a trust can be contested after the death of the settlor. The grounds for contesting a trust include lack of capacity, undue influence, fraud, mistake, and breach of trust. The beneficiaries or interested parties can challenge the validity of the trust in court.

What is the difference between a trust dispute and a Will dispute?

A trust dispute involves disagreements over the management or distribution of assets held in a trust, while a Will dispute involves disagreements over the validity or interpretation of a Will.

What are the legal grounds for contesting a trust?

The legal grounds for contesting a trust include lack of capacity or undue influence on the part of the settlor, fraud or mistake in the creation of the trust, breach of trust by the trustee, and failure to comply with the formalities required for the creation of a trust. Additionally, beneficiaries may contest a trust if they believe that the trust is not being correctly administered or a trustee is acting in breach of their duties.

Can a trustee be removed in a contentious trust case?

Yes, a trustee can be removed in a contentious trust case under the law of England and Wales. The court has the power to remove a trustee if they are found to have breached their duties or if there is a breakdown in the relationship between the trustee and beneficiaries. The court will consider all relevant factors before making a decision, including the trustee's conduct, the nature of the breach, and the impact on the beneficiaries.

Our dedicated Contesting a Will team

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Partner, Contesting a Will

John Lambe

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Partner, Contesting a Will

Tom Howcroft


Senior Associate, Contesting a Will

Rebecca Beaumont

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