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Trustee liability

This category contains 92 posts

Myths and liability

Trustees act personally.  As noted in the Supreme Court judgment in Macalister Todd Phillips Bodkins v AMP (emphasis added): “Liabilities incurred by a trustee in relation to a trust are always the personal liabilities of the trustee … A creditor has a personal right to sue a trustee and to get judgment and make the … Continue reading

The blessing of the court

Being a trustee is hard, and at times quite possibly boring (to paraphrase from the movie An Education: Emma Thompson and Carey Mulligan).  And worse, if you get it wrong the beneficiaries can sue you, no matter how hard a trustee might try to get it right. Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of … Continue reading

Trustees “fortunate” to be liable for only 50%

The Rex White Family Trust (RWFT) was found to have failed by reason of uncertainty. While the Court accepted it was appropriate for the trustees to have sought directions from the Court, it was found that they had acted unreasonably by pursuing an argument as to the existence of the RWFT, which was lacking in merit.  … Continue reading

Protecting the trustee’s position on the changing of the guard

The decision in Meritus Trust Company Limited v Butterfield Trust, a decision of the Supreme Court of Bermuda, considers the practical matter of whether a removed trustee can retain sufficient trust assets against which to enforce its indemnity in relation to a contingent costs liability.  In this case the contingent costs liability was estimated at $5 million and … Continue reading

The curious story of the Angora cat

Para 438 in the decision of MezhProm Bank v Pugachev refers to a phenomenon in patent law known as the Angora cat problem first identified by Professor Franzosi, an eminent academic expert in the field: “Professor Mario Franzosi likens a patentee to an Angora cat. When validity is challenged, the patentee says his patent is … Continue reading

Disclosure to the trustees

Disclosure of trust information to beneficiaries is commonly considered.  However, what of disclosure to the trustees? Consider the case of Daniel v Cundall.  In this case Mr Daniel and Mr Cundall were the trustees of a trust.  Mr Daniel, a lawyer, says that he left the day-to-day trust administration to Mr Cundall. After a long period of … Continue reading

Disclosure request declined – 24 years a leap too far for a beneficiary who had already received 25%

As noted by Woolford J in para [1] Addleman v Lambie Trustee Limited relates to “an unfortunate dispute between sisters as to what level of disclosure is appropriate for the affairs of the Lambie Trust (the Trust)…” Prudence and Annette are sisters.  In1972 Annette broke her spinal cord diving into a tidal pool in Sydney … Continue reading

How afraid should we be of Clayton?

The Supreme Court decision in Clayton v Clayton changed the trust landscape.  But how afraid should we be?  Are all trusts vulnerable to Clayton-style challenge?  Or just the ones that push the envelope?  And, if the latter, how far can one push before there is a problem? A recent decision of Moore J has provided … Continue reading

Trustee liability – it’s a real thing folks

Worried about all the ways your decision to accept appointment as a trustee will come back and bite you?  CCH Learning – Trustee Series 2017 Webinar Trustee Liability  might be just the thing that you need to help you sleep at night.

Ouch

In Davis v White (see You aren’t my beneficiary – are you??) a trust was found to have failed by reason of uncertainty. The second hearing of the matter related to costs and is a sobering tale for trustees. Mrs White who incurred significant costs (AUD 40,893 and $85,369.50 in New Zealand, plus disbursements) said that the proceedings could … Continue reading