There are various reasons why someone may decide to set up a trust. Trusts are designed to protect your assets and ensure financial stability for your loved ones. It is considered a more efficient way of distributing your assets and can help you mitigate inheritance tax liability if you have a large estate to distribute. Sometimes, disputes can arise when setting up and/or distributing trusts, with loved ones seeking to bring a claim against the trustees. Fortunately, our civil litigation solicitors in Streatham Hill are here to help.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors, we have experience in dealing with a range of contentious probate disputes and issues concerning the administration of a will. Trust disputes differ in their nature and require professional expertise to help you acquire the result you need. If you need to bring a claim against a trust, or the trust you set up is under threat by a family member or relevant party, read our helpful article below.
What is a Trust?
As mentioned previously, a trust is usually set up to protect a person’s assets and ensure that their family and loved ones are well looked after in the future. Their estate can include a range of assets, such as money, property, and shares. The estate is legally transferred to another person or group of people (known as trustees) and is then managed for others (the beneficiaries). Once signed over, the trustees are the legal owners of those assets.
Once assets are moved into a trust, they no longer form part of the estate, and the person to whom the estate belongs no longer has control. Trusts are recommended if an individual wishes to safeguard their assets during their life or after their death, especially if they don’t want those assets to pass directly to family members.
Unlike the challenging of a will, in which claimants will try to prove that the deceased wasn’t of sound mind, that they were under undue influence, or the document was forged, disputing a trust usually falls into two distinct categories. Trustees have more power over the assets, which can lead to disputes. Whether the person that made the trust is still alive or they are now deceased, conflicts can arise.
The Removal of Trustees
Trustees must always work in the best interest of the assets. They have an obligation to always be honest and to act with integrity. If a trustee is not acting properly or in good faith, fellow trustees or beneficiaries can ask for them to be removed. Sometimes, the trustee may step down of their own accord if there are enough trustees still in place to administer the trust. Other times, they may refuse, and the trust document must be checked. If the document is executed on the terms stated, it can be hard for the “rogue” trustee to protest.
There are various reasons as to why a trustee may be removed. These include but are not limited to; a breach of trust, incapacity of a trustee, conflict of interest or the trustee fails to act properly. Each case has different ramifications, so it is important to seek legal advice before making major decisions. Our solicitors in Streatham Hill can help analyse your case and advise on the best course of action.
Claiming Money from a Trust
When you are a named beneficiary, it can be hard to determine how much you are entitled to. Unlike wills, where the deceased states exactly who they want their assets to go to, and how much, trustees are fully in charge of the distribution of the trust. A beneficiary’s entitlement depends upon the type of trust; bare/absolute trusts and discretionary and will trusts. If you would like to discuss the type of trust and your entitlement rights with our solicitors in Streatham Hill, please arrange a free consultation with us today.