What is the outcome of a lost trust deed?


As per the title, there is no trust deed available for a previous settlement into a life office offshore bond. The life office don’t have a copy and no other party can locate one.

There is a third party who is noted by the life office as ‘Protector’ and the protector’s assumption is that they can write a note stating what the trust said. My gut feel is that there is no trust without a deed, even if the life office has details of the trustees and the protector.

Can anyone tell me if there is a scenario available to avoid invalidating the original trust?


Benjamin Fabi
Principled Paraplanning

The working assumption should be that there is a trust but you do not know its terms. That does not invalidate the trust. Did the issuer have a standard trust template with a protector at the time it was issued? That would be my starting point.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

You cannot get rid of a trust merely by losing the trust deed. That would lead widespread abuse.

If there was a trust established by a trust deed, then you need to do your best to determine what the terms of the trust are. If the “Protector” can, at least, summarise the terms of the trust and all involved consider that that summary is likely, reasonable and acceptable to all concerned, then I suggest that the Protector makes a statutory declaration to that effect for future reference and the trustees (?=the Protector) could proceed on that basis.

I wonder whether you might be able to obtain a copy of the standard form trust precedent which the life insurance company in question used to issue at the time the bond was entered into. Maybe if the life company itself and “the internet” cannot help, you could perhaps post on TDF the approximate date of the deed, the jurisdiction involved (you mentioned it was an “offshore” bond - perhaps IoM?) and, possibly, the type of trust, and see if any forum members happen to recall having something matching that description which they could copy and redact for you - you could then compare that to what the Protector recalls.

Paul Davidoff
New Quadrant Partners Ltd

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As a side note, what’s the position if there’s a photocopy but the original can’t be traced?

John Nevile