Sole Beneficiary entitled at 30

Mother has died leaving the whole estate to only son “…upon attaining the age of 30 years”.

STEP (1st edition applies)

s11 & s19 of TLATA 1996 are excluded.

Parents were divorced, but the father is the guardian and there is provision for guardian not to be out of pocket and for Power of maintenance and advancement to be applied to in such a way that the Guardian is also not out of pocket.

Son is now over 19 years old and relations are not great with the trustee (mother’s sister).

The client wants to know what ‘teeth’ he has as trustee (aunt only, as IFA trustee, is quiet). She is refusing to allow money for a laptop for uni and insists on only sending money via cheque which is asking for trouble in the current climate - but the last cheque was pre COVID.

Solicitors took out grant and (presumably) dealt with estate (over £500k).

the client just wants to take stock and see what he is entitled to. Can he:

  1. ask for estate accounts form Solicitor? if they say no directly, can their client (trustees) also forbid them to send it?

  2. how much teeth does he have going forward to request information (trust accounts etc) and money from the trustee.

As a minimum, I would insist that everything is conducted in writing and include the co-trustee so he is aware of his co-trustees conduct going forward.

I’d like to help him, but at the same time, I want to set realistic expectations.

Interested to hear your views.

Kamlesh Samji
KRS Estate Planning

What is the contingent remainder?

Jack Harper

unsurprisingly…the trustee and another sister!

Kamlesh Samji
KRS Estate Planning

He can demand accounts from the trustee.
The solicitors can’t provide them directly (unless they were executors) as they owe a duty of confidentiality to their clients (presumably Aunt as executor).

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

Having read this a couple of times, the identity of the “client” is unclear. There is reference both to “what ‘teeth’ he has as trustee” and to him requesting information from the trustee.

If this is an England & Wales will, as suggested by reference to the STEP Standard Provisions, it seems to me that the father’s role of guardian should have fallen away once the son attained age 18, so that he no longer has any right to information or the recovery of his out of pocket expense in that capacity.

As the son is now aged 19, he is entitled to the income of the estate (under s.175 Law of Property Act 1925) unless the will directs it to be accumulated.

I believe that he has an expectation to receive copies of the estate accounts and, going forward, copies of the trust accounts.

Unless the trust instrument directs otherwise, he should also receive the income of the trust fund arising since his 18th birthday, subject to the trustees retaining any sums required to meet any expenditure properly payable out of income.

Provided that s.32 Trustee Act 1925 applies, or the will contains a power in similar terms, the son could also ask for the release of some capital monies, although any such release would be at the discretion of the trustees. Until he attains age 30 he has no “right” to require the trustees to advance to him any capital monies.

If the son is not “the client”, hopefully the above comments will also help to inform the client of his position.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals


Thank you Paul and other members, that is really helpful. (sorry for the confusion, yes the ‘client’ is the son/beneficiary.

The wording would suggest it is a vested interest, but subsequent clauses (“if does not attain a vested interest…” with s33 WA effect) and a further calamity clause seem to contradict that. It appears that we may need to obtain the will file.

Kamlesh Samji
KRS Estate Planning

He has no right to capital but the trustee does still have fiduciary duties. If she is refusing reasonable requests then he can ask why and, while she is not obliged to provide reasons, ignoring him or providing a less than reasonable explanation could be grounds for either removal or just applying some pressure to get her to act more reasonably.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

That’s great, thank you.

Kamlesh Samji
KRS Estate Planning