Breach of Trust

A trustee is a person who takes responsibility for managing money or assets that have been placed into a trust for the benefit of third parties (beneficiaries). The role of trustee arises in many circumstances, some voluntarily and others where the law imposes the obligations of a trustee upon a party. Trustees have a minimum duty to perform their duties honestly and in good faith for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.

Examples of a trustee are:

  • A solicitor holding money for a client
  • A trustee of a pension scheme
  • A trustee of a charity
  • A trustee in relation to an estate of an individual
  • A party provided with money for a specific purpose

Trustees have several duties imposed upon them.

Examples include to act in accordance with a trust, to act fairly between beneficiaries, to ensure they do not place themselves in a position of a conflict of interest, to take reasonable care in making investments and to not profit from the trust.

There are however times when beneficiaries or fellow trustees suspect a trustee has acted not in accordance with their duties or directions.

Where that conduct is considered to be dishonest (often in cases where the trustee is seeking to act in the own interests ahead of the beneficiaries or to profit from the trust), then action is needed to guard the trust assets and seek to recover any lost funds.

From the investigation stage through to seeking resolution, be it through dialogue with the trustee or a stricter approach using the Court depending on the severity of the alleged deceitful acts.

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