A case currently proceeding through the High Court, highlights the importance of understanding your duties as trustee and the obligations that the role involves.
As reported in The Telegraph, Richard Bonham Christie set up a trust 30 years ago for the benefit of his son. However, his son Peter, now aged 32, is taking action for a breach of trust against his father and his co-trustee, accountant David Macey and has made an application for the trustees to be removed.
In 2008 trust funds were used to purchase a French nineteenth century villa, which significantly reduced the annual income that the trust had previously provided. The reasonableness of this decision and outcome is a matter of dispute between father and son, which has led to the claim being submitted to the court.
The role of trustee, even where a trustee may also have been the individual setting up the trust, is a onerous position. When taking on such a role any individual should be fully aware of the requirements of them and the potential personal liability that may arise. We would suggest that legal advice is taken at the outset of the role and ongoing to ensure that the duties are fully complied with and to ensure that any future liability is avoided.
To view an overview of a trustees duties and responsibilities, download our handy guide here.
If you would like further advice in setting up a trust or assistance in performing the role of trustee, please contact Sarah Goodwin in our trusts team on 0161 475 7689.