There are many reasons why an individual may establish a trust, whether this is created in a person’s Will to protect assets or during a person’s lifetime.
What all UK trusts have in common, is that appointing the right trustees is key to success. Trustees need to be able to work together smoothly and efficiently in order to manage the trust’s assets and make decisions in accordance with the trust structure and rules which they are bound by.
Who should I appoint as a trustee?
A common route is to appoint family members or trusted friends to the role of trustee. Friends and family will usually be willing to undertake the requisite responsibilities free of charge. They are also likely to have a helpful understanding of your wishes and intentions which may help them in carrying out their duties.
Of course, difficulties can arise when friends and family are appointed. With trusts where friends or family are also amongst the beneficiaries of a trust, appointing friends and family to act as trustee can put them in a difficult position; having to balance their obligations as trustees with their position as family members in their own right. It can also place an unhelpful strain on the trustee’s relationship with the other members of your family. In cases where you need your trustee to act with absolute impartiality, when deciding how to divide the trust assets between family members for example, family members appointed as trustees can find themselves in a difficult position.
Another option is to appoint a solicitor, or other suitably qualified professional, as trustee. In the usual course of events, the solicitor would not be amongst the people who may stand to benefit from your trust and so would be able to carry out your wishes with complete impartiality and in accordance with any guidance you have provided. A suitably qualified solicitor will also have the expertise needed to ensure that they duties and responsibilities placed on a trustee would be carried out appropriately. Of course, a professional trustee, such as a solicitor, would need to charge a fee for the wok they undertake in helping to run your trust. Careful thought will therefore nee to be given to whether the trust could meet those expenses in the long term.
How can Tozers help?
The choice of an appropriate trustee is always important. Tozers’ team of specialist lawyers would be happy to take you through your options should you need assistance with this.