Trust Disputes

Are you involved in a trust dispute, either as a trustee or as a beneficiary? If so, JMW Solicitors can provide you with expert legal advice on trust disputes to help you find an efficient, fair and satisfactory resolution to your case.

Our expert trust disputes solicitors will investigate all aspects of any disagreements that arise over the management of a trust, in order to find the most effective way of resolving the matter. Wherever possible, we will work to find a mutually satisfactory outcome for all involved to bring your dispute to an amicable conclusion.

We understand how complex the law surrounding trust management and trust disputes can seem, as well as how stressful it can be to be involved in one of these cases. We will make the process as straightforward as possible for you, helping you to reach the right resolution and move forward with your life.

To receive expert legal advice on trust disputes, get in touch with our specialist trust dispute solicitors at JMW. Call us today on 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.

What is a Trust Dispute?

Many people set up trusts as an alternative means of passing on a legacy to their loved ones. It allows an individual to set aside a certain amount of their wealth or assets to be managed by a trustee and allocated to beneficiaries under specific circumstances, allowing this wealth to be protected from tax or unwelcome claims, or passed on to younger family members in a more controlled and structured way as they grow up.

However, if disagreements arise over the administration of the trust, this will cause a trust dispute. There can be a wide variety of reasons why a trust dispute might arise, with some of the most common including:

  • A trustee being accused of negligence, fraud or breaching the rules of the trust, or for overlooking negligence committed by another trustee
  • A trustee failing to administer the trust effectively or efficiently
  • A beneficiary seeking to remove a trustee
  • The trust document itself being found to contain mistakes or ambiguities, or not accurately reflecting the wishes of the one who set it up, and therefore needing to be changed
  • The person who set up the trust was badly advised, misled or lacked mental capacity
  • Beneficiaries of the trust feel they have not been paid what they are due from the trust
  • A trustee is found to have used funds from the trust for their own benefit

If a trust dispute arises, it can have serious consequences for all involved, potentially stopping beneficiaries from claiming funds that are rightfully theirs, while putting trustees at risk of facing damaging legal action.

As such, if you are involved in such a case, it is important to seek out expert advice on trust disputes as soon as possible in order to find the best way of achieving a smooth resolution.

How JMW Can Help

No matter what the details of your case may be, our trust dispute solicitors can help you reach a favourable outcome for your trust dispute. With our wide-ranging experience in wills and probate matters, we can act on behalf of trustees and beneficiaries, and will aim to bring the dispute to a swift and fair conclusion.

We have significant expertise in helping beneficiaries to claim what they are entitled to from a trust, and in supporting trustees to deal with legal challenges and difficult requests. We have dealt with trusts of all shapes and sizes, including those that incorporate international assets or complex wealth management structures.

Our experts regularly advise on the following types of cases:

  • Challenges to the validity of trusts
  • Variation of trusts
  • Applications for directions in relation to the administration of a trust
  • Applications for declarations as to the construction of a trust
  • Applications for the removal of trustees
  • Breach of duty allegations
  • Challenges from a dissatisfied beneficiary
  • Professional negligence claims against trustees regarding:
    • Estate administration
    • Breach of trustee statutory duties
    • Unauthorised or unwise investments

We offer a variety of funding arrangements to ensure that you are able to make a claim and receive high-quality legal support and advice in a way that is cost-effective for you. Our aim will always be to achieve an amicable solution where possible, and we will explore mediation options and alternative approaches to resolving the dispute in order to avoid a stressful or prolonged legal case.

Our Will Disputes Team

Alison Parry
Partner
Will and Trust Disputes
Ben Wilson
Partner
Will and Trust Disputes
Ian Johnston
Senior Associate Solicitor
Will and Trust Disputes
Claire Brierley
Associate Solicitor
Will and Trust Disputes
Ameliah McLaren-Parker
Solicitor
Wills and Trust Disputes

Our Accreditations

Our Will Dispute solicitors have been awarded professional accreditation from organisations and associations including:

  • The Legal 500 - Who said that JMW are a “great team. Good legal knowledge and commercial approach to litigation. The team moves very quickly, and is very calm and knowledgeable.”
  • Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Firms - JMW’s wills disputes team is described by an interviewee as a “professional, modern firm delivering expert advice”. Alison Parry is described as “one of the best litigators in Manchester” and her “strengths are her obvious expertise, her capability and her empathy”. 
  • The Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) - Membership to this association requires solicitors firms to meet certain criteria based on their performance in this line of work.
  • Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) - Membership of STEP demonstrates our commitment to high professional standards and continued professional development, building the confidence, respect and trust of our clients.
  • Special Interest Group for Contentious Trusts and Estates - Members of this group are focused on international trust and estate law while promoting best practice in the handling of contentious trust and estate disputes and trustee litigation. 

FAQs About Trust Disputes

What are the responsibilities of a trustee?

In agreeing to become a trustee, an individual has a certain number of legal responsibilities to the trust and its beneficiaries. These include:

  • Managing and dealing with the trust in line with the requirements of the will or trust deed, while acting with reasonable care and competence
  • Keeping the trust property and assets safe and secure
  • Providing fair and impartial treatment to all beneficiaries
  • Maintaining clear, transparent and sufficient records to show that the trust is being managed properly
  • Agreeing not to misuse or appropriate the trust funds for their own benefit

If any of these legal duties have been breached or gone unfulfilled, a trust dispute can be initiated against them, and this could result in them facing civil or criminal charges.

Can a trustee be removed from a trust?

There are a number of circumstances in which a trustee can be removed from a trust and replaced. The following are considered automatic grounds for a trustee to be removed:

  • The trustee dies
  • The trustee is unfit, incapable or ineligible to act on the trust’s behalf
  • The trustee formally requests to be discharged from their duties
  • The trustee remains outside the UK for more than 12 months

The courts also have the power to remove a trustee if serious misconduct can be proven, or if other circumstances arise that make their position untenable. These might include:

  • The trustee refuses to take necessary actions on behalf of the trust
  • The trustee has been shown to have acted against the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries
  • The trustee has failed to act impartially by favouring one of the beneficiaries over another
  • The relationship between trustees breaks down, meaning they are no longer able to manage the trust and make collective decisions
     

Talk to Us

To speak to one of our solicitors for advice on resolving trust disputes, get in touch with JMW today by calling 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.
 

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