Events leading to hostility between trustees and
beneficiaries are often similar. The following is a typical
The settlor places their fortune
in a discretionary trust for the benefit of their children,
grandchildren and further issue. They make it clear in their letter
of wishes that they do not wish the trustees to fund extravagant
lifestyles for the children.
The settlor dies and their
children bring pressure on the trustees to make substantial
distributions to them. The trustees refuse.
The children turn against the
trustees and allege overpayment by the trustees of their costs. The
children only agree to correspond with the trustees via their
solicitors. The children's solicitors request the trustees
stand down in favour of the children on the grounds that they may
be in breach of trust through overcharging and that, in any event,
there is such friction and hostility between the trustees and the
children that the trusts cannot be executed properly, thus
jeopardising the welfare of the beneficiaries. The trustees refuse
The court is required to balance
the wishes of the settlor (although not binding) and any perceived
risk to the interests of future generations in the trust fund
against the ongoing difficulties that exist between the trustees
and the children, and the potential impact that has on the proper
execution of the trusts and the welfare of the
This article considers the often difficult question, first
for trustees and second for the court, as to whether or not
trustees should be removed in circumstances where they are
honouring the wishes of the settlor against the requests of the
beneficiaries, the beneficiaries then turning against the trustees,
alleging breach of trust and generally making the proper
administration of the trust difficult to achieve.
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