Trustees and others with fiduciary duties are entrusted with great responsibility. An understanding of risk is essential to executing those responsibilities. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is expert at helping.
Our lawyers act for trustees and fiduciaries daily. We have helped more than 1000 trusts in the last 10 years, with total assets in excess of £30bn.
Specific areas in which we have advised clients include:
A beneficiary of a trust brought a claim against the trustees, our clients, for breach of trust. She claimed that the trustees had gone against guidance in a letter of wishes when they paid out a large sum to another beneficiary.
We were able to show that the trustees had acted reasonably – and considered the interests of all the beneficiaries – when they made the distribution. The beneficiary dropped her claim.
The trustees of a substantial offshore trust asked us to review the tax position of beneficiaries who paid tax in France, Israel, and the US.
We restructured the trust, partly by dividing it so that it could – jurisdiction by jurisdiction – operate tax-efficiently. It also enabled the trustees to limit the amount of information that would have to be disclosed to each tax authority.
Our clients, the trustees of a sizeable trust, were concerned that a beneficiary would receive half the trust’s capital when she turned 21.
We advised on changes that would give her a reasonable income, and a say in the trust’s investment decisions, at the age of 21. Then, with the benefit of 14 years’ investment experience, she would get her share of the capital at 35. She was happy to agree to the changes.
Our client asked us to carry out due diligence on a trust company. We found that there were issues with about 10% of the trusts – from potential breach-of-trust claims and fees that had been incorrectly charged, to a small number of substantive compliance-breaches.
Once we had renegotiated the price and certain warranties, and indemnities our client proceeded with the purchase. Following the purchase, our client used our report to isolate the problem trusts so that they could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
"I have to say, they tick all the boxes for me."Chambers UK 2016 – Private Client