When someone sets up a trust, they appoint trustees to manage that trust and its assets on behalf of one or more beneficiaries. This can be a complex role, particularly if there are lots of trustees and beneficiaries involved. If you’re a trustee, you might start to wonder if you’re doing things the right way. How and when should you be completing tax returns? How should you make decisions about the trust’s assets? And what do you do if trustees can’t agree?
The law says that trustees have a duty of care towards beneficiaries. If you’re worried that you don’t have the necessary skills or knowledge to manage a trust, it’s part of your remit to consult professionals who can help – such as accountants and solicitors. Trustees must act in the trust’s best interests and take an active part in any decision-making. The law also says that trustees must act unanimously. If they can’t agree, it’s possible to bring in a dispute resolution service – but serious disagreements could end up in court.
If you’re not sure what your trustee responsibilities are, our team of legal experts can help. We can talk you through the laws around trusts, and how to make sure you’re sticking to the rules set out in the trust deed. If you’re involved in a dispute, we can suggest how you might be able to find a resolution. And we can give you guidance on what to tell a beneficiary if they’re asking questions about a trust in their name.
All advice contained within this section relates to England and Wales only.