What happens if trustees cannot agree how to divide trust assets?


Trustees must act unanimously, and sometimes have a wide discretion as to how to divide assets between the potential beneficiaries. What happens if there is a stalemate and they cannot reach an agreement? A recent Court decision has ruled that the Court may intervene in such circumstances to impose its decision on the trustees.

This is good news. Every trustee needs to make every effort to act objectively – in respect of their fiduciary responsibilities – in the interests of the trust and its beneficiaries. If the trustees cannot agree how to decide a matter on which they have discretion then one option is to apply to the Court. Court applications must be a last resort, and there are potentially personal financial implications for any trustees involved in such an application. However, that a Court might impose its decision on the trustees, should encourage them to work even harder to reach a consensus.

Nick Palmer is a solicitor in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, solicitors in Ipswich.

Solicitors Ipswich Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk