Abandon a Trust asset - s15 Trustee Act 1925

We have a 1940 Scot’s law willl trust (trust company sole executor and trustee) with just one asset: a right to develop and enjoy gas/oil/minerals from a small parcel of land in the vastness of Alberta Canada. An oil company has long exhausted such development as far as they are concerned and we are left with an asset producing nothing for some years and now of no or nugatory apparent value.

The costs of any sale, potential development or assigmnent far outweigh any likely benefit and we are minded to abandon the asset - however I can see no equivalent in Scotttish law to s15 TA 1925. Possibly there is some case law - but little funds to seek specialist advice. The beneficiaries - now p/reps of original - cannot come to an decision.

any thoughts welcomed!

Even if there is the equivalent of s.15 TA 1925 under Scots Law, the trustee will still be the “owner” of the land under Canadian law.

If possible, I suggest you assign the legal title to those now entitled, or their nominee. If it remains in the trustee’s name you will be dragged into any future issues that might arise, needing to take advice in Canada and trying to track down whoever is then entitled to obtain their instructions. Nightmares are made of such scenarios.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

Dear Nick,
I note that you mention an oil company, and presumably this has been paying royalties to the personal reps of the deceased. There is long history of oil royalty trusts in Alberta, the idea being to help the land owner / farmer get an income when crop prices were driving many farmers into bankruptcy. Trouble then developed and the Alberta Court a few years ago declared the concept illegal. This resulted in royalties being accumulated instead of being distributed to (in this case) the personal reps. I believe Computershare in Calgary was the court appointed trustee to hold such royalties until claimed (their web site has details). If there is a Royalty Trust affecting these oil revenues, I would certainly have an investigation made just in case there are any accumulated royalties due to the estate. In the case we handled we recovered about C$20,000 for the client… It might therefore be worth dusting off the old documents and making enquiries. I suspect that just making an initial enquiry might be worth the cost and should not be too expensive. This is a very tricky area of Alberta law, and needs careful handling…
Peter Double / Probate Resealing Services