Untrustworthy administrator

We are finalising a life interest trust following the death of the life tenant. The remainder beneficiaries were the two daughters of the deceased, but one has died intestate after her interest had vested. Her share therefore passes to the administrator of her estate, one of her two daughters, who, in the normal course of events would divide this between herself and her sister.

Unfortunately the relationship between the sisters has broken down. The sister who isn’t the administrator is concerned that if any monies are paid to the administrator, she will simply abscond. She has therefore approached our trustee client asking them to pay her share to her direct.

My understanding is that the trustee can only receive a good receipt from the administrator. Is this correct?

We will be advising the beneficiary to take independent legal advice but are intrigued to know what remedies, if any, the beneficiary would have, before the actual distribution has taken place.

Any illumination would be gratefully received.

Sarah Bushell
Jobling Gowler Law Ltd

As the administrator of the deceased daughter is the only person with legal title to the share of the trust fund, the trustees would be at risk if they accounted directly to the other beneficiary. Without approaching the administrator, then truth of the current nature of their relationship might not be known, and it could differ to what you have been told.

As suggested, the sister should be directed to their own legal adviser and, if matters are as suggested, perhaps an application be made for the administrator to be removed and replaced by a professional (but that would be for her advisers to suggest).

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals

Many thanks for your comments, Paul.

Sarah Bushell
Jobling Gowler Law Ltd