What is a trust?
A trust is an arrangement whereby assets (money, investments, property) are held by someone or by a group of people for the benefit of another person or group of people. The people responsible for looking after the assets are known as Trustees. A person who benefits from the assets in the trust is called a Beneficiary. Trusts are used for a number of different reasons. The main reason is often to reduce the amount of tax payable when someone dies leaving their estate to other people.

How is a trust created?
A person who puts assets into a trust is called the Settlor. The Settlor’s wishes for the trust are often recorded in their Will or in another document created during their life, known as a ‘trust deed’.

What does a Trustee do?
The main role of a Trustee is to ensure that the assets in the trust are properly managed and used for the benefit of the Beneficiaries. Trustees must act in the best interests of the Beneficiaries of the trust and must be involved in managing the trust assets.

What is the difference between a Trustee and an Executor?
An Executor is someone who is named in a Will and is responsible for administering the estate of someone who has died. An Executor will collect and cash in the assets in the estate, pay off any debts and tax which pay be payable and then distribute the assets according to the wishes of the deceased. Often a Will also creates an ongoing trust and the same people will be appointed as Executors and Trustees, however, the role for the Executors will end once the estate has been distributed.

What decisions can Trustees make in relation to the trust?
Trustees have powers to manage and make decisions in relation to the trust. The document that creates the trust (the Trust Deed) will set out some of the powers that the Trustees have but other powers are prescribed by law. Some of the powers that a Trustee has are to invest the assets in the trust, to insure the assets in the trust, to provide for Beneficiaries who are minors and to delegate to some of their duties to another person such as an accountant or financial advisor.

What am I responsible for as a Trustee? Is there anything that I must do?
Acting as a trustee is a big responsibility. The law imposes a range of duties on Trustees to ensure that they act appropriately. In particular, it prescribes that Trustees must act with reasonable skill and care when dealing with trust assets and they can be held to a higher level of accountability if they possess specialist skills or knowledge.

Some of the other duties that Trustees have are:

  • To act impartially between the Beneficiaries;
  • To make sure that they do not put themselves in a position where their own interests conflict with those of the Beneficiaries;
  • Take care when investing trust assets and seek advice from an independent advisor if necessary;
  • To distribute the trust assets in accordance with the Trust Deed (or Will); and
  • To provide information relating to the trust if asked to do so by a Beneficiary.

Can I be personally liable for decisions that I make as a Trustee?
Yes, Trustees can be personally liable to beneficiaries for breaches of duty or responsibility. It is for this reason that Trustees often seek advice from independent advisers to ensure that they are acting appropriately and in the best interests of the Beneficiaries. Trustees should regularly meet with their Co-Trustees to make decisions and review the trust position.



Read what our clients have to say...

View All

Excellent experience start to finish – always very responsive to any queries and the turnaround on the property I was buying was very quick, even in the busy time leading up to stamp duty deadline. Jenny was always very helpful and went above and beyond to close on a short timescale.

Ben Armitage

“Very approachable, practical solutions to problems, but most of all very responsive which I personally think is very important because if you need help, you need it quickly, or at least to know someone is looking at it for you”.

Joanne Rowe, Finance Director, Greater Manchester Chamber

“Always able to contact, very approachable, friendly and professional”

Nives Feely, JAM Recruitment

“I believe I have been able to establish a professional working relationship with everyone I have come into contact. Importantly, I sense the relationships which have been established give me the confidence that I can make contact with Davis Blank Furniss at any time and on any matter. I would also like to express my thanks to the very impressive “gatekeepers” who work in reception, not only for making me very welcome, but also for their professionalism”

Bill Pryke, CEO, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

“Thank you for your efficient and friendly help throughout this process. We have had it easy but your approach has been part of that”.

Robert Amsbury (Conveyancing Client)

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the ongoing support and assistance the firm has offered to our parents over the years. I hope also that we may be able to call on you if necessary in the future.”

Valerie Fisher (Probate Client)

“Jo always provides great service, understands our needs and delivers on her promises. Our needs are relatively simple but the complexity arises out of the volume of work and short time frames, Jo always delivers.”

Peter Fernandez, Corporate Director at Royal Bank of Scotland

“A big thank you to all who dealt with my wife’s claim… We would not hesitate to recommend Davis Blank Furniss to anyone that may be in a situation like we have been…”

Anon (Personal Injury client)

“Before putting my case in Kirsty (Morbey)’s capable hands I’ve met a couple of other solicitors. None of them listen to me as intently as Kirsty and showed me as much empathy and understanding as she did. Simultaneously she was able to look at my case from legal perspective, explain all the options and follow each of our meetings with written summary of the discussed matters (in timely manner). Her advice was invaluable and led me to successfully ending the case matter (hopeful for good). I’m forever grateful for he work and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for reliable, knowledgeable and committed solicitor”.

Anon (Family client)
5 star service

Our Manchester office is rated 5 stars on Google