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WILLS AND PROBATE: Trustees & Trust Administration

Where there is a trust, there must be trustees who are charged with the responsibility for its administration. This can be an onerous and thankless responsibility, which frequently is required. Consider, for instance, that where there is co-ownership of property, such as the family home, there will by law be a trust. Similarly, when a person dies, and the estate vests in the personal representatives, there will by law be a trust.

Members of the department, who have many years’ experience in dealing with trusts, are well qualified to advise clients who are trustees and can assist them by taking responsibility for the day to day administration of the trust. In particular, they are able to prepare all of the legal documentation that is required during the course of the administration, such as on the appointment or the retirement of trustees, on the distribution of income or capital to the beneficiaries, on the preparation of trust accounts and on accounting to and paying income tax or capital gains tax to HMRC.

Occasionally difficult questions can arise in the course of the administration of the trust which may require legal advice. This may be a question from the trustees as to their fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries or it may be a question from the beneficiaries as to the duty to account owed by the trustees. Alternatively, it may be a question as to how the trust responds to a third party who may, for example, wish to bring a claim against the trust. In all these circumstances, we are able to advise and assist in the resolution of the issue in question.