Estates disputes and removing trustees and executors

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There are occasions where a trustee or executor no longer wishes to act and decides to step down. Alternatively, the beneficiaries of an estate or trust may be unhappy about the way in which an executor or trustee has been behaving and want to replace them with someone else.

We are experienced in all types of estate disputes and trust disputes which often involve changing trustees or executors. The position and procedure will depend on whether a person is appointed as an executor or trustee and, in the case of an executor, will also depend on whether a grant has been obtained in the estate.

The trust deed itself may allow trustees to retire and to appoint replacements. Alternatively, there are provisions in law for trustees to replace their co-trustees in certain circumstances such as when a trustee has died, is incapable of acting or wants to retire.

If there is a dispute as to the removal or replacement of trustees, it is likely an application will have to be made to the court. The court does have the power to remove a trustee if it would be detrimental to the trust for that person to continue. An application of this type may therefore be appropriate where relations between the trustees and beneficiaries have become so bad as to make the administration of the trust unworkable.

We are increasingly being asked to provide guidance on the removal of executors and trustees, as well as advising on any indemnities sought by retiring trustees. We can offer practical assistance on the steps required whether on behalf of a trustee or beneficiary and are also able to advise in relation to any documents that are necessary and any indemnities sought.

We offer expert advice on:

  • the procedure for removing trustees and executors
  • the merits of applications to remove
  • drafting Deeds of Retirement and Appointment
  • indemnities on removal or retirement

Recent work highlights

Court order

Advising on an application for a court order to remove a trustee, where the relationship between the trustees had broken down.


Irreconcilable differences

Negotiating the retirement of trustees where the relationship between the trustees and beneficiaries had deteriorated and advising on suitable indemnities.


Impartial administrator

Acting as independent administrator in an estate where the executors had been removed by the court.

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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP