Missing Trustee

Dear All,

I would be most grateful for your help.

I have a client with an onshore insurance bond written into a discretionary trust for the benefit for her spouse and children. The trust document looks to be a template produced by Standard Life.

My client is one of the trustees, but she doesn’t seem to know who the other trustee is, despite being the settlor. She settled this some 25 years ago.

We are unable to trace the second trustee by name or address, or social media and I wondered what to do. Ideally, I would like to remove the missing trustee and appoint a replacement in the family or to simply wind up the trust by assigning the bond to one of the beneficiaries. Is this possible with one trustee in absentia? If so, what is the process?

Many thanks .

Adrian Edwards

Trustees must act together, unless the trust instrument provides otherwise. I doubt the Standard Life template permits trustees to act by a majority.

The absence of a trustee effectively freezes dealing with the trust fund, as they cannot give their agreement to anything.

I suggest that the remaining trustee should exercise the powers in s.36 Trustee Act 1925 to replace the missing trustee.

The trust fund cannot be wound up, as both trustees would need to be involved in the assignment of the bond to a beneficiary.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

Limited to finding the trustee or their personal representatives. Standard life should have the names of the initial trustees on record. In my small experience most life insurance companies put the option to be “in trust” on their application forms and are therefore generally “au fait” as to their identities.
My suggestion would be to speak to Standard Life quoting the bond reference.

Peter Harris

Much appreciated thank you Paul

Many thanks Peter, I do have a name and address but have been unable to trace them.

We’d be happy to try to locate her for you or discover what became of her.

Peter Turvey, MD
Anglia Research

I am not in any way contradicting any advice given above but an alternative is to contact a private investigator (if you need a recommendation I am happy to do so) as they have access to databases that the public do not have access too. Should you so wish it might be cheaper to use a site called 192.com and see if you have any luck. Presuming she has not remarried and retains the same name its worth going to www.companieshouse.gov.uk and press Find company information and entering her name and seeing if anything comes up. This is absolutely free and has the month and year of birth next to the director record so you can narrow it down. If the Trustee is listed as a director or secretary it will have an address for her.

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Many thanks, Lee. I used 192.com and tracked down the trustee who is alive and well at 82!