Trust disputes do occur, and it is advisable to get legal assistance if you wish to resolve a dispute with a trust. An experienced solicitor can help you if:
- A trustee behaves negligently or fraudulently.
- A trustee ignores another trustee’s breach of trust.
- A trustee administers the trust inefficiently.
- The trust document is not clear or accurate.
- The person who established the trust (known as the settlor) lacked the mental capacity to do so or was forced into it.
- The settlor received negligent legal or tax advice
- The trust documents don’t fulfill the settlor’s wishes accurately
- The trust stops creditors or financial dependents from claiming assets from an estate
- The trust is set up purely to conceal the real legal ownership of the assets.
Claims against trustees
Trustees have some onerous responsibilities. As well as managing the trust effectively and unwaveringly acting in all the beneficiaries’ best interests, the trustee faces serious financial consequences if they fail in their dues. An expert solicitor can help you make a claim if a trustee:
- Mismanages trust funds
- Appropriates trust funds for themselves
- Shows favour to a beneficiary
- Prevents a beneficiary from living in a property or accessing funds that they are entitled to under to the terms of the trust
- Does not pay trust income to a beneficiary
- Retains information about the trust that they should have revealed
- Otherwise breached the trust or allowed a co-trustee to act in breach of trust.
Trustees are obliged to act in the interests of the trust’s beneficiaries. If they don’t, a solicitor can help you:
- Get a trustee removed or replaced
- Obtain information about the trust and its accounts
- Recover funds removed from the trust.
- Bring criminal charges against a trustee who has committed theft or fraud
Those who give professional will and estate-planning advice are required to act in their clients’ best interests. This duty may extend to the clients’ beneficiaries. Professional negligence occurs when a professional errs or fails in their duty towards clients and beneficiaries. This can involve:
- Making clerical mistakes
- Supplying inaccurate tax or legal advice
- Delaying preparation or drafting of a Will
- Recording a client’s wishes inaccurately
- Not ensuring that a will is valid and properly executed.
Making a professional negligence claim may help to amend an error or rectify any losses you may have suffered. Sometimes the mistake can be prevented from affecting anyone, but errors are often noticed only when the estate is being administered. This can cause disputes, which legal guidance can help you with, through mediation and court representation.
Disputes involving property trusts and co-owned property
Disagreements frequently arise over properties held in trust and properties that are shared by multiple owners. An experienced solicitor may be able to help you if:
- You’ve inherited an interest in a property, and the co-owners don’t agree with you on what to do with it.
- You failed to receive an inheritance you were expecting.
- The trustees or beneficiaries do not agree with you on how to use a property held in trust
- You have an interest in a property, but you are unable to occupy it or receive income from it.
- A property has fallen in value due to neglect.
- Your lifetime entitlement to occupy a jointly-owned property is in doubt.
- You’ve invested in refurbishing or altering a jointly-owned property.