Isle of Man: The Life Of A Trust Part Three: Changing Trustees

Last Updated: 12 December 2016
Article by Jessica McManus

Isle of Man trusts may continue for a number of years, (and indeed in perpetuity following the Trusts Amendment Act 2015 (the "2015 Act")), during which time it may be necessary for a change in trustees. The express terms of the trust deed may deal with replacing trustees, and there are also statutory provisions pursuant to the Trustee Act 1961 (the "1961 Act").

The retiring Trustee

A natural time for replacing a Trustee is when a Trustee wishes to retire from their role. In this case, usually, as long as there are other existing Trustees to continue, then the retiring Trustee can do so by executing a deed declaring his wish to be discharged. The continuing Trustees can consent to his discharge and the vesting of the trust property in them. Once this is complete, the outgoing Trustee will be discharged from his role.

Please note that the changes to the 1961 Act brought in by the 2015 Act to make changing Trustees simpler are not retrospective. All prior changes of Trustees should always be checked before a Trustee retires, is replaced or appointed.

Replacing a Trustee

Section 35 of the 1961 Act deals more comprehensively with the instances whereby a Trustee can be replaced by the other Trustees of the Trust, specifically when a Trustee:

  1. dies;
  2. remains out of the British Isles for more than 12 months;
  3. desires to be discharged from all or any of the trusts or powers reposed on him;
  4. refuses or is unfit to act;
  5. is incapable of acting; or
  6. is an infant. - See more at:

If any of above apply, the legislation provides for the appointment, by writing, of one or more new Trustees to act in the place of the outgoing Trustee. This power can be exercised by the person appointed under the trust instrument to appoint new Trustees, or if there is no such person appointed, then this can be undertaken by the continuing Trustees.

Problem: We've run out of Trustees

If there are no Trustees remaining, i.e. if the last Trustee dies, and there is no other person appointed under the trust instrument to appoint new Trustees, then the last Trustee's personal representatives may appoint one or more Trustees to act in the place of the deceased Trustee.

This task will fall to the executors for the time being who have proved the will of the deceased Trustee, although in situations where the executors intend to renounce then they are able to exercise the power of appointment prior to renouncing, without taking up the role of executor.

Transfer of the assets of the Trust

Under the 1961 Act, the deed of appointment of a new Trustee can, by declaration, effectively vest any estate or interest in any land or chattel subject to the Trust in the new Trustee, without any conveyance or assignment being necessary. Assets will vest with the Trustees as joint tenants.

If there is no such declaration included in the deed of appointment, but there is nothing expressly to the contrary, then the deed will operate as if it had contained the declaration and the interests will vest as above. Where a Trustee is retiring by deed but not being replaced, the above provisions will apply in the same way.

However, there are some exceptions. The above vesting provisions will not extend to land held under a lease where such an assignment would breach the terms of the lease. It will also not extend to any shares, stock, annuity or property which is only transferable in books held by a company or other entity. 

Appointing an additional Trustee

There will usually be provision within the trust instrument for the appointment of additional Trustees, subject to the statutory maximum limits within the 1961 Act. There will also usually be a nominated person to deal with the appointment of new or additional Trustees.

Court's power to appoint new Trustee

By virtue of Section 41 of the 1961 Act, the court has the power to make an order appointing one or more new Trustees, in substitution or addition, where it is expedient to do so and would be inexpedient, difficult or impractical to do without the court's assistance. This provision is deliberately wide, and any person may, with leave of the court, apply for such an order. 

Beneficiaries' power to direct the retirement or appointment of a Trustee

Where the trust instrument does not nominate a person to deal with the appointment of Trustees and the beneficiaries of the Trust are all of full age and capacity, and collectively are absolutely entitled to the trust property, then the beneficiaries have the power to direct a Trustee to retire and appoint a new Trustee. As long as certain conditions are met, such as ensuring the minimum number of Trustees remain, then the Trustee directed to retire must do so by deed declaring his retirement.

The beneficiaries also have the power, subject to certain conditions, to direct the appointment of a new Trustee in circumstances where the last remaining Trustee is incapable of acting due to mental health incapacity.

How to help the new Trustee

Once the new Trustee has been appointed it may feel like job done, however there are some practical points to consider when a new Trustee has come on board. The new Trustee will require certain information to get up to speed on the Trust if they haven't got any previous knowledge of the Trust's background. Typically they would need to be provided with a copy of the trust deed, any letters of wishes and a copy of the latest trust accounts. However depending on the level of knowledge of the Trustee, and whether they have any prior experience of acting as a Trustee, they may require further documentation or guidance.

What about the outgoing trustee?

The acquiring of personal liability by a Trustee is outside the scope of this note, however if you are the outgoing Trustee, you may be concerned that you should not have any continuing liabilities once you have left your role. It would be prudent to consider whether there are any potential liabilities of which you are aware, and whether an indemnity is required from the remaining or new Trustees to protect you from future expense should any issues arise. 

In the next part of this series we discuss making distributions from trusts.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.