SOLVING PERSONAL LEGAL MATTERS
Trust disputes can be highly emotional and complex, requiring specialist legal advice to achieve a successful outcome. Our experienced team of trust dispute solicitors are here to provide expert advice and guidance on all aspects of trust disputes, including breach of trust, trustee disputes, and trust litigation.
A trust dispute is a conflict that arises between the beneficiaries of a trust, or between the beneficiaries and the trustee. Trust disputes can occur due to disagreements over how the trust is being managed, or how the assets of the trust are being distributed.
Trust disputes can arise for a variety of reasons and, because the law on trusts is not always straight forward, legal disputes can often have serious consequences on both the trust and for its beneficiaries.
At Forbes, we have a specialist, dedicated team of solicitors who specialise solely in trust disputes, allowing us to deal with cases of any size, from issues relating to a small family Will or trust, to large, complex trusts with an international element. Our expert solicitors work alongside an international network of specialists, giving us unrivalled experience of dealing with cases that are of high value and with an international element.
Trusts can be unwritten or can be created by a Will or by a trust deed, and often trustees find the position thrust upon them. Trustees have a list of fairly complex and sometimes onerous duties, which include acting in the best interests of the beneficiaries, acting impartially and a duty to be ready with accounts. Because of this, legal disputes can often arise in a range of circumstances, including:
A breach of trust is when a person who has been entrusted with property or assets fails to act in the best interests of the beneficiary or misuses the property or assets for their own benefit. This is a civil wrong under UK law and can result in legal action being taken against the person who breached the trust. This could include:
At Forbes, our expert team act for beneficiaries in bringing claims against trustees where they are in breach of trust, as well as acting for trustees in defending such actions. For more information, or to speak to our expert team, contact us today.
The time limit for bringing a breach of trust claim is six years from the date of the breach or, if the breach was concealed, six years from the date of discovery of the breach. However, in some cases, there is no time limit. No time limit exists in respect of any fraudulent breach of trust or an action to recover trust property peviously held by the trustees.
Time is often critical in trust disputes, particularly if you suspect that a trust's assets are being misused or dissipated. If you are a trustee, you are under an obligation to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and protect the trust assets, so it is imperative that you seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
A beneficiary cannot unilaterally dissolve a trust in a dispute. The trust can only be dissolved by the court or by the trustee in accordance with the terms of the trust deed. The beneficiary may be able to challenge the trust in court if they have grounds to do so, but this does not automatically result in the trust being dissolved. The outcome will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the application of UK law.
In some circumstances, if all the current and remainder beneficiaries agree, a trust can be dissolved. Generally the manner by which a trust can be brought to end depends on the type of trust. In cases such as this, all of the trust's income and assets are distributed to its beneficiaries. For more information about dissolving a trust, contact our team of international trust dispute solicitors.
The Contentious Trusts and Probate team at Forbes have significant experience in a wide range of trust issues, from complex trusts with an offshore element, charitable trusts and SIPP/SSAS pension trusts to Will trusts.
Get in touch with our team today to benefit from their vast experience in providing professional legal services for cases involving trust disputes, on behalf of trustees or beneficiaries. We deal with clients nationally and internationally, and look forward to hearing from you.
Our expert team have acted on behalf of trustees, beneficiaries and third parties in relation to all manner of trust disputes. If you have any issues at all relating to a trust, call our Contentious Trusts and Probate team on 0800 689 3607 for a free, no obligation consultation, and we can tell you how we can help.
An example of a trusts dispute could be a disagreement between beneficiaries and trustees over the distribution of assets in a trust. This could arise if the beneficiaries feel that the trustees are not fulfilling their duties properly or if there is a dispute over the interpretation of the trust deed. In such cases, the beneficiaries may seek legal advice and take legal action to resolve the dispute.
To dissolve a trust the trustees must follow the terms of the trust deed and any applicable laws. This may involve distributing the trust assets to the beneficiaries, terminating the trust, and filing any necessary tax returns. If the trust deed does not provide for dissolution, the trustees may need to seek court approval. It is recommended to seek legal advice before dissolving a trust.
Common causes of trust disputes include disagreements over the interpretation of the trust deed, disputes between beneficiaries, disputes between trustees, and allegations of breach of trust or misconduct by trustees. Other causes may include disputes over the distribution of trust assets, disputes over the appointment or removal of trustees, and disputes over the validity of the trust itself.
A trust dispute can be brought by any person who has a legitimate interest in the trust, such as a beneficiary, trustee, or settlor. The dispute can be related to the administration of the trust, interpretation of the trust deed, or any other matter that affects the rights and interests of the parties involved. The dispute can be resolved through negotiation, mediation, or litigation in the courts.
There are several types of trusts in UK law, including bare trusts, discretionary trusts, interest in possession trusts, and accumulation and maintenance trusts. A bare trust is a simple trust where the beneficiary has an absolute right to the trust assets. A discretionary trust gives the trustees discretion over how to distribute the trust assets. An interest in possession trust gives the beneficiary a right to the income from the trust assets. An accumulation and maintenance trust is designed to provide for the maintenance of a beneficiary until they reach a certain age.
Yes, a trust fund can be challenged under certain circumstances, such as if there is evidence of fraud, undue influence, or lack of capacity on the part of the settlor. Additionally, beneficiaries may be able to challenge the actions of trustees if they believe they are not acting in the best interests of the trust. However, it is important to seek legal advice before attempting to challenge a trust fund.
To challenge a trust one can file a claim in court alleging that the trust was created under undue influence, fraud, or lack of capacity. The claimant must provide evidence to support their case and may need to prove that the trust was not properly executed or that the trustee breached their duties. It is important to seek legal advice before taking any action to challenge a trust.
The role of a trustee in a trust dispute is to act impartially and in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They must ensure that the terms of the trust are followed and that any disputes are resolved fairly. The trustee may need to seek legal advice and may be required to appear in court to defend their actions. the trustee's duties and responsibilities are governed by the Trustee Act 2000 and other relevant legislation.
Yes, a trust dispute can be settled out of court through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration. These methods can be less costly and time-consuming than going to court. However, if the parties are unable to reach a settlement through these methods, the dispute may need to be resolved in court. The availability of out-of-court settlement options will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the willingness of the parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution.
The length of time it takes to resolve a trust dispute can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case and the willingness of the parties to reach a settlement. Some disputes can be resolved within a few months, while others may take several years to reach a final resolution.
If a trust dispute arises, it can have significant consequences for the beneficiaries. The dispute can delay or even prevent the distribution of assets, causing financial hardship for the beneficiaries. It can also lead to legal fees and costs, which may reduce the value of the trust. In some cases, the dispute may result in the removal of the trustee, which can further delay the distribution of assets. Ultimately, the beneficiaries may receive less than they would have if the dispute had not occurred.