Problems with trustees
Trustees, protectors and other fiduciaries are increasingly likely to face legal proceedings. They may be accused of failing to discharge their duties properly, or are being pursued by creditors of the people who set up the trust. Alternatively, there could be problems between them and the trust beneficiaries.We represent beneficiaries of both domestic and offshore trusts. We act in ‘friendly’ disputes, where the court gives guidance on how best to resolve a particular trust or estate problem, or where the court needs to approve something that is not permitted under the terms of the trust. If the matter cannot be sorted out this way or the parties are ‘hostile’, we prosecute or defend on behalf of our client as necessary.
We have been involved in the lead cases where trustees and protectors have been removed and we can advise both sides where this is attempted.
Many of our clients are professional trustees located in offshore trust centres, including the Channel Islands, Cayman Islands and Bermuda, but we also act for trustees based around the world, particularly in the US and UK.
If you have concerns about a trustee, time is of the essence. In many jurisdictions there will be a time limit within which you can bring your claims. If you have some information such as a set of accounts that looks awry, it’s important to start investigating or you may not be able to bring a claim later.
Defending a Cyprus-based trustee
We are defending a Cyprus-based trustee who faces beneficiary claims of USD$150 million in the British Virgin Islands Commercial Court.
Beneficiary/trustee dispute over luxury brands
We advised a beneficiary of a trust who was in dispute with another beneficiary and the trustee who was holding shares in a luxury fashion brand worth over Euro30m. Court proceedings were ongoing in England and Italy, involving our London and Milan offices, before the trustee was successfully replaced and the other issues between the parties compromised to avoid publicity over the businesses involved.
Broadhead v Spread Trustee Company (Guernsey)
We acted for a beneficiary in proceedings concerning trustee negligence in relation to investment losses. It is believed to be the first case in the Channel Islands courts to consider the question of what degree of knowledge will prevent a beneficiary bringing a breach of trust claim beyond the time period required by statute.
Offshore trustee in divorce proceedings
Advising a blue-chip offshore trust company on its involvement in English divorce proceedings concerning attacks on trusts worth over £25m. We handled the disclosure issues for the trustee and eventually the case was concluded without the trustee being formally joined to the English proceedings.
The estate of Walter Henchley
Acting for three of the six children of the late Walter Henchley in proceedings concerning two trusts settled in September 1960, our clients sought an order that the sole surviving trustee (or de facto trustee) of both trusts provide an account in common form of his dealings with the trust assets during the period of his trustee.
The F Trust and the A Settlement (Bermuda)
We acted for the beneficiaries of two trusts in this ground-breaking application under newly-enacted Bermuda law provisions dealing with mistakes by trustees and other power-holders in relation to trusts. Despite the application being contested by the UK tax authority it was successful and the adverse consequences that the trusts had suffered were unwound.
Join the club
We have lots more news and information that you'll find informative and useful. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll keep you up to date on the issues that matter to you.
Typical clients and industries include
Beneficiaries and heirsWhatever you have inherited, and wherever it is in the world, our leading team of lawyers can help you to protect the value of the asset, manage the tax implications and resolving any disputes. Find Out More
Elderly and vulnerable peopleWe have helped many families and trustees through the exceptionally difficult scenario where a person has lost capacity to make decisions for themselves, advising on the full spectrum of issues. Find Out More
Trustees, executors and fiduciariesEven the most experienced advisors will need legal support on complex matters such as cross-border tax queries or third-party claims. We can help you meet your obligations with confidence. Find Out More
How else can we help?
We offer a full range of services to individuals and businesses. Find out how we can help you solve challenges and maximize opportunities.
Get in touch
Our website will give you a flavour of the advice we provide - if you would like to talk to us for more information, please contact our client services team who will be happy to assist.