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Professional trustee ordered to pay compensation

Professional trustee ordered to pay compensation

November 2014 saw another case where a professional trustee was ordered to pay compensation to the estate. The case of Brundenell-Bruce v Moore {2014] EWHC 3679 (CH) involved a large estate owned by the claimant’s family for many years. At the time of the claim there were two trustees, one a professional and the other a lay trustee. A Claim was brought by the Claimant seeking that the trustees had failed in their duties by failing:

  • to carry out repairs to one of the trust properties;
  • to allow one of the properties to be occupied by a family member on a rent-free basis;
  • to generate income from shooting rights
  • to query the remuneration received by the trustees.

The court considered all factors and agreed the Trustees had breached their duty to the extent the estate had lost £50,000 as a direct result of the failure to repair and re-let one of the properties and a further £14,225 as a result of their failure to seek a market rent for the property occupied by the family member.

The lay trustee was removed but the professional trustee remained in place. They were jointly ordered to repay a sum of £64,225 by way of compensation to the estate. This case is a reminder of the risks involved in accepting the role of trustee and falling foul of giving in to the request of family members which could seem like the right thing to do at the time but may well result in a claim such as this.

If you are considering contesting a will, please contact Amanda Melton, our expert in contentious probate on 01494 790047 or email amanda.melton@ibblaw.co.uk