Trust Disputes

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Trust Disputes

What happens when the relationship of trust which should exist between trustees and those who benefit from the trust (beneficiaries) breaks down or if the trustees fall out with each other?

This is by no means uncommon where the trustees and the beneficiaries are members of the same family, and the trust was created following the death of another family member. If one of the trustees is also a beneficiary or related to a beneficiary, are they acting truly impartially?

Trying to resolve these trust disputes requires expert advice from specialist lawyers with many years’ experience of acting for both trustees and beneficiaries. We pride ourselves on providing first class, pragmatic and strategic advice.

Options for resolving a trust dispute include court applications to:

  • Remove the existing trustees and appoint new ones
  • Vary the terms of a trust or to obtain an order for the sale of trust property
  • Seek the court’s guidance as to the interpretation and/or administration of the trust especially if the trust wording is unclear or unambiguous
  • Address a failure by the trustees to act in accordance with their duties e.g., by not providing disclosure of relevant information and documentation or if they are improperly using trust assets for their own benefit
  • Having the trust accounts reviewed by the court, with a view to finding out whether the trustees have properly administered the trust
  • Approve a settlement where the beneficiaries are either children, lack mental capacity or are as yet unborn

Although our trust dispute lawyers have many years’ experience dealing with many types of trust related litigation, we are always alive to other ways of settling disputes, for example, by means of negotiation, joint settlement meetings or mediation.

We are also able to act as independent trustees where there is the need to replace a trustee or where the additional expertise of our experienced trust lawyers would be of benefit.

Looking for immediate advice on a trust dispute?

To discuss how our team can help you with resolving a trust dispute, please contact trust dispute specialist Paul Grimwood by emailing

Our expertise in dealing with trust disputes

We hold the Legal 500’s top Tier 1 ranking for our expertise in Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate and are highly ranked by Chambers & Partners for our expertise in Private Wealth Law.

IBB Partners Paul Grimwood and Amanda Melton are both contentious Wills, trust and probate solicitors with many years of specialist experience and are both members of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).

Paul is also an ADR Group Accredited Mediator (and as of 2020 Online Mediator) and is registered with The Civil Mediation Council. Paul’s mediation expertise allows him to help clients to resolve trust disputes faster and at lower cost, without the stress and often unwanted publicity of court proceedings.

Members of our team also have extensive experience acting as independent professional trustees, giving the benefit of their seasoned expertise and professional perspective to other lay trustees and trust beneficiaries.

Our approach to resolving disputes over trusts

Negotiating a trust dispute settlement

Wherever possible, we will seek to resolve your trust dispute out of court as this can help you to get a favourable settlement of the issues much faster and at lower cost. It can also help to remove unnecessary stress, allow you to keep more control over the process, reduce the potential for damaging family relationships and avoid any unwanted publicity.

Our trust dispute lawyers are highly skilled in various methods of alternative dispute resolution, including private negotiations and joint settlement meetings. Mediation is a particular focus of the team and we have an excellent track record of success achieving mediated solutions for even highly complex trust disputes.

Court applications to resolve a trust dispute

Where a suitable resolution cannot be agreed amicably or the other parties fail to engage in settlement negotiations, then it may be necessary to issue court proceedings

Our trust dispute lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with these types of court applications, so can help to ensure that you follow the correct process, maximising your chances of getting the outcome you need and minimising the potential for any delays or other issues.

We can talk you through how the court process works, removing any confusion or uncertainty. Our trust dispute solicitors will be happy to handle any court proceedings on your behalf, keeping things simpler and less stressful for you.

Acting as independent trustees

Where a trustee needs to be removed or it is felt that additional support would help to resolve existing disputes and prevent future disputes over a trust, we are able to act as independent trustees.

Having the expertise and neutral perspective of professional experts in trust law can be highly beneficial and members of our team have extensive experience acting in this capacity for a wide range of clients and trusts.

Our trust dispute resolution pricing

Our trust disputes solicitors are always conscious of the need to keep costs to a minimum when dealing with these sorts of cases, making sure where possible that our fees are proportionate to the value of the dispute.

We will discuss the likely costs involved in dealing with your dispute at the outset and can provide a clear breakdown of our rates and the types of expenses that may be incurred.

By sharing work across our team and making sure each part of the process is handled by someone with the right level of expertise, we are able to keep our costs down while also ensuring we never compromise on the quality of our service.

For more information on the costs associated with resolving a trust dispute, please get in touch.

Get tailored advice for dealing with a trust dispute

The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

To discuss how our team can help with resolving a trust dispute, please contact our trust dispute specialist Paul Grimwood by emailing