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Trust disputes

Trust disputes happen for all sorts of reasons. They often arise when those who benefit from a trust (the beneficiaries) disagree with those managing a trust (the trustees). Our solicitors know trust disputes can be extremely difficult for everyone involved, so we aim to resolve matters swiftly and fairly.

How Parkinson Wright can help

Trustees’ duties and responsibilities are regulated under the Trustee Act 2000. Our trust dispute solicitors can help if:

A trustee commits a breach of trust. A breach of trust happens when a trustee acts negligently or fraudulently. For example, if they have given assets to those who are not entitled to receive them. 

  • A trustee ignores a breach of trust by a fellow trustee. If one trustee ignores a breach of trust committed by another, they are committing negligence.
  • A trustee fails to administer a trust efficiently. This could include mismanaging money by making poor investments. Trustees have a legal duty to run trusts well to maximise trust assets for beneficiaries.
  • A trust deed is unclear. If a trust deed (the document that lays out the terms of a trust) is vague or contains errors, this can lead to disputes.
  • A person who created a trust (the settlor) lacked mental capacity, or they were coerced. In this case, a trust may be fraudulent and invalid.
  • When creating a trust, a settlor received negligent professional advice. If a settlor received poor legal or tax advice and this resulted in damage to trust assets, legal action may be taken.
  • A trust deed does not reflect a settlor’s wishes. Trustees should make sure a settlor keeps their Letter of Wishes or Memorandum of Wishes updated. The contents of the letter must align with what is written in the trust document. When a trust document and a Letter of Wishes conflict, disputes can arise.
  • A trust stops creditors or financial dependents from claiming assets. Some types of trust protect assets from creditors, but others do not. Our solicitors resolve trust disputes involving creditors and financial dependents.
  • A trust may be a sham. When there is suspicion that a trust is in place to hide the true ownership of assets or it has been set up for other fraudulent purposes, legal advice should be sought immediately.
  • Offshore trust disputes. Providing there is a link to England or Wales (so the trust was created under UK law), our solicitors can help.
  • Actions to remove trustees. A trustee can be automatically removed if they have died, they are unable to act as a trustee due to disability or illness, or they have lived outside the UK for over 12 months. If a trustee has committed a breach of trust, legal steps can be taken to have them removed.
  • A beneficiary wishes to see trust documents. Beneficiaries are not entitled to see all documents, but they can request certain information. For example, they have the right to know who the trustees are and to see documents that set out the terms of a trust. Disputes about information sharing can occur between trustees and beneficiaries.
  • Claims by or against trusts. A claim may be brought against a trust if somebody believes they have been unfairly treated. A trust can also make a claim, for example, if a trustee commits a breach of trust.


Who we help

Parkinson Wright assists both trustees and beneficiaries with trust disputes.


We have many years of experience in defending claims and advising trustees involved in disputes. 

Whatever challenge you are facing, we can provide you with clear, straightforward advice. Most of the time, we resolve trust disputes without going to court. Whether you are facing a legal challenge or you have received a difficult information request from a beneficiary, we can help.


Our solicitors make sure trust assets are distributed correctly and fairly. If you feel you have received less than you are entitled to from a trust, please get in touch with us. 

We can also advise you if you are concerned that a trust is not being managed properly or there are problems relating to trust documents. 


Can you remove a trustee?

A trust document may contain a clause that allows trustees to be removed. If it does not, then the only way to remove a trustee is by taking legal action. 

Trustees can only be removed when there are reasonable grounds, so obtaining legal advice is essential.


What are the reasonable grounds for removing a trustee?

Some of the reasons a trustee can be removed from a trust are:

  • Breach of trust (see above).
  • Death or incapacity.
  • Uncooperative (for example, they do not want to run the trust).
  • Absence (they have lived outside the UK for over a year).
  • Biassed (some beneficiaries are being favoured over others).
  • Ignoring settlor’s wishes (see above).
  • Poor investment decisions.


Why choose Parkinson Wright trustee dispute solicitors?

Our dedicated trust dispute solicitors advise beneficiaries and trustees with all kinds of trusts. We deal with family trust disputes, estate disputes, and complicated trusts involving international assets. 

Trust disputes can be difficult and emotionally fraught, especially when family relationships are involved. We have the experience and legal knowledge to settle your trust dispute as quickly and amicably as possible. 

Most of the time, we resolve disputes without going to court, which reduces costs and minimises stress.


Parkinson Wright solicitors have several accreditations, so you can rest assured you will receive expert legal advice and the highest level of customer service.

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority

    We are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
  • Lexcel Quality Mark

    We have achieved the Law Society’s Lexcel Legal Practice quality mark, which sets the standard for client care.

Get in touch

We offer a Free Initial Assessment, so you can call us without charge or obligation to discuss how we can assist you with a trust dispute.

To arrange your Free Initial Assessment at a time convenient to you, please call 01905 401 893.

Team members

Frances Woods
Partner, Head of Litigation
Mark Blake
Partner, Litigation


Anyone with an interest in a trust can dispute a trust fund. It is usually beneficiaries who make claims, but claims can be brought by trustees and others.

A trust can only be disputed when there are reasonable grounds. If you believe you have a case, please talk to our solicitors, who will advise you.

If you are unable to settle a family estate dispute through amicable discussion, our solicitors can discuss your options with you.

Most of the time, disputes are settled outside court through mediation. With mediation, everyone sits down in a room, and an independent mediator facilitates discussion to help you resolve the issue together.

The time limit depends upon the type of trust dispute. If there has been a breach of trust, for example, the limit is normally six years from the date the breach was discovered.

Whatever the circumstances, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you are a trustee, you have a legal duty to protect trust assets for beneficiaries, so time is critical.

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