Ask the Experts


What is the difference between Executors and Trustees?

Executors are the people you appoint to deal with the administration of your estate after you have died. Trustees are the people you appoint to administer any ongoing trusts contained in your will. Both roles can be fulfilled by the same person.

Can a trustee be held personally liable?

Yes – if a trustee acts outside the remit of his powers then he may be held personally liable for any loss arising from this breach of Trust!

What is a settlor?

The settlor is a person who creates a trust by passing assets to the trustees. Trusts can also be called settlements and this is where the term derives.

Is a trust a separate legal entity?

A Trust does not have separate legal identity such as a company does but it will be separate from a trustee’s own personal affairs and if it is registered at the tax office it will have its own tax reference etc.

Can a trustee also be a beneficiary?

A trustee can also be a beneficiary but problems may arise if there are issues where a conflict of interest may apply. Suitable additional provisions may be required in the trust document to ensure no problems are caused.

In whose name should trust assets be held?

The key thing is that trust assets are registered in the names of all trustees and as a general rule all trustee’s decisions must be unanimous. Ideally, there should also be some designation on the investment or account that the asset is held as trustees of the said Trust.

Is there a maximum number of trustees?

The maximum number of trustees that can be registered for property at the Land Registry is four and we would suggest that this is the maximum number of trustees that should be appointed.