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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10984
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I'm Adrian, This is about removing trustees. Mother died. Four siblings, Adrian (

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Hi I'm Adrian, This is about removing trustees.
Mother died. Four siblings, Adrian (Me) Warwick, Phillip and Shelley. Will very contentious (I know, you have heard it all before!) Shelley and Phillip Executors. Mother did codicil in which I became lifetime beneficiary of my 1/6th share of will. Trustees Shelley and Phillip.
Remainder beneficiaries, Shelley if she survives me and if not, My brother Warwick's eldest son Robert.
Will drafted by sister, Shelley. Major beneficiary Shelley.
Trustees produce irregular summary accounts - This is in the bank, this is held at lawyers etc. Initially bank statements. Now no bank statements. Irregularities with figures and believe this is why no bank statements. I believe that they are using trust fund as working capital.
The trust account is held in the Isle of Man because they cannot set up an account in the UK because they live in Australia (Shelley) and Canada (Phillip). I belive that they can but that they don't want to. I get about 0.1%
1. Dear Adrian, you should initially seek an account from the trustees as a prelude to an application to have the two trustees removed. This is because you won't get the two trustees removed merely because they are not favouring. YOu need some cause showing why they should be removed. Most likely, they will resist being removed. So you will need to have good grounds showing why they should be removed. The fact they are resident elsewhere in the world will not be sufficient grounds for having them removed.
2. When dealing with the trust court will have regard to the fact that the family is widely dispersed around the world. It will merely look at whether the trustees have and will be fulfilling their duties correctly. Here, there is an obvious imbalance in the way the trust is being run in that your share is being disregarded. However, this can be solved by a direction by the court to the trustees. To get the trustees removed you need to show some good cause, such as not dealing properly with the trust assets and failing to account for them fully, as seems to be the case here.
3. I would advise you to get yourself a solicitor who is experienced in the area of trusts and estates. A letter before action should be written calling upon the trustees to account for the monies to date. Then an application for removal should be issued with cause being shown for why they should be removed.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Buachaill
Thank you for your response.
Will the fact that they CLAIM that they cannot open an account in the UK carry favour for me. It would obviously be better having a UK resident as a trustee.
Would you say that bank statements and receipts count as "vouchers" in this context and am I entitled to them?
I am getting about 0.1% interest on the account - would you think a court would deem this not getting the best value for the beneficiary?
Thank you.
5. Dear Adrian, Firstly, it makes no difference as to where a bank account is. This is not good grounds for the removal of a trustee. There is no requirement that a trust must have a UK bank account. Secondly, there is no entitlement of "vouchers" merely to an account. An account is an overall accounting for the trusts and its assets and how they have been dealt with including investment income and disbursements and payments out.
6. In a low interest rate environment, a court will not penalise a trustee for getting a low return. The trustees are given a discretion as to what assets they will invest the trust assets in or how they will be dealt with. These would not be grounds to remove trustees as every other beneficiary or every other trust before the court is in a similar situation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Buachaill
Thank you for your response. If trustees can open an account in the UK the return is at least 20 times the return that they are getting in the Isle of Man. That is significant. Trustees claim that they cannot open a bank account in the UK - Please see
They are not doing what is best for me. They are doing what is best for them. My sister, younger than me, if she outlives me then she simply transfers money to her account. She even has an account in the same bank.When at the isle of Man TT in June this year, I went to the bank in Douglas and asked " If I live overseas and I want to get a better return that is being obtained from this account (showing them the copy bank statement), can you offer anything else?" The replay was "yes you can have a bond account which will yeaild about 1.2%". Remember I am getting 0.1% approximately now!With regard to overall accounting - see attached (note period of time involved) It is over 4 years since last accounts.
If vouchers do not form part of the accounts, how can I verify the accounts?The potential sales value of the plot of land is unknown but an offer was made in 2002 of £1.5M by a reputable developer with whom we have done business before.With regards ***** ***** of property and leases in Ireland, If they sell, then they deduct the costs before it is divided up and distributed. But they are using the trust fund for speculative activities such as feasability studies on the parcel of land that is of high value. This is the job of the Developer not us. The land could be re-allocated as a car park by the council! Those monies should surely be removed from the final payout if sold and not be wasted on speculative activities (Working capital).Kind regardsAdrian
7. Dear Adrian, I appreciate that the trustees are doing what is best for them and not what is best for you. However, the point is that as a matter of law a court will not interfere in the exercise of a discretion by a trustee. Investment is one area where a trustee has a discretion that cannot be reviewed by the court, as a matter of law. So you will fail in your application to have the trustees removed if you spend your time arguing about whether a better interest rate would be obtained in a bond account rather than in a cash account.
8. I know this might seem amazing to a lay person but court's do not enter into supervising the exercise of powers by trustees. They merely see their role as one of a supervisory nature. So they will remove the trustees if they have committed some malfeasance or indiscretion. But the court won't intervene in the actual running of the trust. If you want to make theses decisions for yourself, you will have to become a trustee yourself!!
9. Additionally, the right of account does not extend to every voucher obtained by the trust. YOur expectations are unrealistic here. Again I would suggest you seek to become a trustee yourself if you wish to micro-manage the affairs of the trust. But a court will not give you this level of detail upon an action for an account.
10. Dear Adrian, I would suggest you speak with a solicitor who is experienced in the area of trusts and estates. This will give you a better working understanding of how the interaction between the courts and the operation of a trust occurs. The key point is that courts don't enter into micro-managing the affairs of the trust. If you want that level of detail and some input, then you had better become a trustee yourself.
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