Berwin Leighton Paisner and Bryan Cave are now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. The world is more connected, and now so are we. Learn more

Segun Osuntokun

“Courts are increasingly holding paid professional advisers responsible for breaches of their duty-of-care” Segun Osuntokun, Partner – Commercial Dispute Resolution


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:

  • Fiduciary duties and obligations;
  • Exercise of trustee powers;
  • Claims against and by trustees;
  • Applications to court;
  • Generational planning for trustee powers;
  • Managing and minimising fiduciary risk;
  • Regulatory and compliance advice;
  • Tax issues; and
  • Acquisitions of fiduciary businesses.

Case studies

  • Documents image

    A determined response can quickly stop a claim

    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.

  • Tax advice image

    The right structure can reduce tax and control information

    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.

  • Investment image

    Varying a trust to give a beneficiary time to learn about investment

    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.

  • money image

    Legacy-issue risks need not scupper a deal

    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

This site uses cookies to help us manage and improve the website, your browsing experience, and the material/information we send to our subscribers. For further information about cookies, including how to change your browser settings to no longer accept cookies, please view our Privacy Notice. Otherwise we will assume you are OK to continue.