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Independent trustee services

Hugh James can act as an independent trustee of trusts established by individuals during their lifetime, or trusts arising following a death.

The need for this service may arise if:

  • the existing professional trustee is no longer able to act in the trust or an application has been made to the court to remove them, and a replacement professional trustee is required;
  • the trustees have all died or retired and there is no suitable alternative trustee available to act; or
  • there has been a dispute in relation to either an existing trust or an estate giving rise to a trust, and an independent trustee needs to be appointed to take the trust administration forward.

Who is appointed as trustee?

The Hugh James Trust Corporation Limited will be appointed as the independent trustee.

In which types of trust can Hugh James act as independent trustee?

We can act as independent trustee in relation to the following types of trusts based in England and Wales:

  • bare trusts
  • life interest in possession trusts
  • discretionary trusts
  • charitable trusts
  • property trusts
  • disabled beneficiary trusts
  • personal injury trusts

We are experienced in acting as trustee in a wide range of trusts with complexities including agricultural land, businesses, and overseas aspects.

What are the benefits of appointing Hugh James as an independent trustee?

The appointment of an independent trustee will ensure that:

  • the beneficiaries of the trust are treated fairly and no one beneficiary is favoured over another;
  • the trustee is neutral in any disputes arising between the beneficiaries;
  • the trust complies with its reporting requirements for tax purposes in England and Wales and, where relevant, overseas;
  • the trust complies with legal requirements, for example in relation to any changes to the trust or decisions made by the trustee;
  • the assets of the trust are secure and insured; and
  • the trust and its investments are reviewed on a regular basis.

Who will manage the administration of the trust on behalf of the trustee?

Our independent trustee services are delivered by our large, experienced Trust Administration team, working collaboratively with our expert Private Wealth Disputes team.

Our Private Wealth Disputes lawyers will advise the trustee regarding its role in any court proceedings associated with the trust.  This helps to ensure that matters are concluded in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

Where required, our teams can also draw on expertise from other departments in Hugh James – for example, if there are properties or businesses forming part of the trust, we can call on our Property and Corporate/Commercial teams.  The full-service nature of our firm means we can take a multi-disciplinary approach, enabling the trust to be administered efficiently under one roof.

What is the process for appointing Hugh James as an independent trustee?

If you are involved in a trust where an independent trustee needs to be appointed, please contact us using the enquiry form below.  We will contact you to request further information about the trust, so that we can consider whether the trust is one where we are able to act.

This information will include:

  • a copy of the trust deed or will and any supplementary deeds to the trust;
  • details of the trust’s assets and liabilities, including up to date values;
  • details of the trust’s beneficiaries; and
  • details of the reason an independent trustee is required to be appointed, to include any relevant court documents.

We will review the information provided and confirm if we are able to act as independent trustee.  We will also confirm details of our charges for acting as trustee.

Once we have confirmed our agreement to acting as trustee, depending on the circumstances giving rise to the need for an independent trustee to be appointed, Hugh James Trust Corporation Limited will be appointed as trustee via:

  • a court order; or
  • a deed.

If we are being appointed by a court order, we will provide the documents required by the court to enable Hugh James Trust Corporation Limited to be appointed.

Key contact

Eleanor Evans TEP


Eleanor is Head of the Trusts and Estates Administration Department, a large team dealing with estates and trusts administration on behalf of financial institution and trust corporation clients.  Eleanor is a specialist in wills, probate, tax and trusts, and is a full member of STEP (the Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners).  She is also a committee member of the STEP Wales branch.

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