Q&A What happens to a Trust fund when a Trustee dies?

Q: Years ago, I and one other person agreed to be Trustees for a Trust that was set up by a friend in his Will, to provide for his daughter who had learning difficulties and was in residential care. He and his daughter’s mother parted badly when the daughter was young. The other Trustee died, and my friend died shortly after. Since then, I have lost track of where his daughter is living, so have been unable to make any payments. The Trust has accumulated a considerable amount of money. I am now unwell myself and I don’t know what to do about the Trust.

A: Where there is a vulnerable beneficiary, it is very common for a Trust to be included in a Will to protect the assets from being taken into account with regards to any means tested benefits. It is also vital to ensure that somebody else is overseeing the finances so that the vulnerable person is not taken advantage of.

A Trust of this kind will require at least two Trustees. Ordinarily, the instrument that creates the Trust (in this case, the Will) will state that an existing Trustee can appoint additional Trustees. This would allow you to select who you wish to appoint. It would be sensible for you to appoint two further Trustees in order to ‘future proof’ the Trust. To do this, you will need to have a Deed of Appointment drawn up.

Getting in touch with a tracing agent may determine where your friend’s daughter is. A solicitor will be able to assist you with this. Failing that, it is possible that there are other people included as beneficiaries of the Trust who could receive the money, although this would be a last resort given that the Trust was established by your friend in order to provide for his daughter.

You should make an appointment to see a solicitor as soon as possible.

This question has been answered by Jessica Wright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham Office

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen Office:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

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Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

Jessica Wright

Jessica Wright

Solicitor

Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Oswestry.