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BBC 4 Moneybox - Changing a Trustee

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Stephen Lawson, Will Disputes expert and Partner at FDR Law in Frodsham was invited onto BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox programme on Saturday 19th May 2018.

The second segment of the programme focussed on the inheritance planning firm Universal Wealth in which the limited company had been named as the trustee on many clients’ assets, resulting in issues and raising many concerns.

Stephen was interviewed by presenter Paul Lewis on how to change a trustee.

The full programme is available to hear or download on the BBC iPlayer Radio .  A transcript is below of Stephen’s interview or you can listen online from 14.54 to 18.56. 

“You can’t change a trustee because you don’t like them, or you don’t get on with them.  You can however if they are failing to act in the administration of the trust or if there is any evidence of dishonesty or for example if the trustee is a limited company and they have gone out of business.  They would all amount to good grounds to be able to change the trustee”

Q: What should you do if you want to change your trustee, what steps should you take?

“I would recommend self-help in the first instance, people should try a series of letters to the trustee asking for reassurance and asking for information about the trust, and if you don’t get a response to any of those communications then go and get specialist advice”

Q: What would that advice be if you can’t get hold of the trustee, what sort of legal routes / rights are open to them

“Well if an agreement can’t be reached and if the trustee doesn’t agree to go voluntarily then someone would have to start court proceedings to get the trustee removed.“

Q: Give us the best and worst case scenarios in terms of the amount of time and money someone may have to spend for someone who wants to change a trustee

“Well the best case scenario is that after a bit of toing and froing the trustee agrees to be removed, that would be done usually within a couple of months and within a matter of hundreds of pounds. 

"At the other end of the scale if the trustee then later on becomes engaged and says they don’t want to be removed, and in the rare case and it goes all the way to a trial it could take 12-18 months and cost many many thousands of pounds”

Stephen Lawson is a Partner at FDR Law and specialises in Inheritance and trusts disputes nationwide.  For further information, email Stephen.lawson@fdrlaw.co.uk or call 01925 230000