Who inherits when Trust is wound up

My husband’s uncle left his money in trust for his educationally subnormal child. On the death of that child the trust was to be wound up and left to my husband. My husband has since died. My husband left everything to me but I have been told that my husband’s inheritance of this trust money stopped when he died and would not pass to me. There are 3 Trustees managing this trust. The child (she’s a grown woman now) only have 4 relatives left, one 97yr old Aunt, and three cousins (2 by marriage i.e. my husbands 2 children and one by another relationship but they weren’t married) (only one of these is a Trustee, I am another Trustee and my mother in law is the other) When the child dies who inherits?

1 Like

Depends on the terms of the Trust/Will so without seeing that its not possible to advise. You really should go and see a solicitor specialising in Probate/Trusts. I presume you have a copy of the Will seeing as you are a Trustee.

Yes I have a copy of the Will - it’s quite simple. It merely states that the trust monies should be used for the child’s benefit and on her death the trust should be wound up and all monies paid to my husband. Nothing more. We did ask a Solicitor but they wanted £1000 just to write a letter telling us.

As Karl Taylor states, the position can only be properly identified by a review of the actual wording of the will. Yes, it may seem expensive to pay £1,000 for formal advice on this aspect, but without such advice can you be satisfied, either as a trustee or, perhaps, the beneficiary of your late husband’s estate, that his entitlement was terminated by his death.

Trustees are entitled to take legal advice to understand the terms of a will at the expense of the trust fund if there is doubt as to the beneficial interests. Even if the trust fund is of modest value, the cost of advice now could avoid potentially greater expense if there is a dispute after the child’s death, when views may have become entrenched.

Paul Saunders FCIB TEP

Independent Trust Consultant

Providing support and advice to fellow professionals


You say that the will is quite simple, Does it say that your husband must be living at the date of death of the testator’s child or is there no mention of survivorship? If there is no requirement for him to so survive, you need to ask whoever has told you that his interest ceased to explain why they have reached this conclusion.

Patrick Moroney

No it does not state my husband should be living at the date of death. No mention of survivorship. I was told that the interest ceased some years ago after my husband died on another forum. I just accepted that that was correct.

Lesley - it’s simply not possible to advise without seeing the Will, and you def shouldn’t presume what is said on a Forum is the correct position. I doubt who ever said that was a professional. I appreciate there are costs involved but at least you will get an answer. You could try the solicitors who drafted the Will (if applicable). Did you get professional help when dealing with the estate and constituting the Trust at the time as they should also be able to advise if so. As a Trustee you have obligations and it seems to me you could become conflicted so perhaps general advice on the Trust in addition to the specific point would be a wise move.

1 Like

I googled on the first couple of sentences of Lesley’s question and found the source of her advice, given by an online solicitor: https://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/cv16y-husband-s-uncle-left-money-trust.html

Well, shows the limits of such resources. From reading his answer, it seems to me he has overlooked the Trust element and responded as if Lesley’s husband was due to inherit only if the daughter pre-deceased him. (Mentioning if the daughter had left a Will).


I am amazed that an online solicitor would venture to provide advice on the provisions of a Will without actually seeing a copy of the Will and that instead he relied wholly on a summary from a lay person.

Cliona O’Tuama


This thread such a good example of why proper professional advice is crucial and there are no shortcuts to getting such advice (it would be like someone trying to ask a GP to conduct brain surgery… you must find the appropriate person for the job!


Sorry haven’t replied by have been on holiday. I would comment as follows:
Karl: It was the solicitor who set up the Trust that I approached for an answer. I thought that £1000 for a letter with no meeting was excessive so decided to ask the Forum. In response to your reply after, no the daughter has not made a Will.
Garlands: This was my original post some years ago. I didn’t keep a note of the forum and lost the result.
The Will is a 3 page document in large font and double spacing. There is not much in it except to say he wanted to be buried, appointed my late husband and the solicitor to be Executors & Trustees of the Will (both dead) , usual jargon about paying just debts funeral and testamentary expenses etc., Trustees shall hold the net monies of the Estate, investing monies in the Trust Fund of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situate for benefit of the daughter, Trust ends at daughter’s death, Trustees to pay monies to my late husband, and if Trustee is solicitor then he gets paid. That’s it.
I guess the way forward is to contact the Law Society to find a specialist. I am not a complete lay person having worked for 40 years in a solicitors office but mostly in conveyancing but I am, however, familiar with the “jargon”

1 Like

Lesley - I didn’t ask if the daughter left a Will, I was pointing out that is what the so called ‘expert’ in the forum asked; thereby demonstrating he had misunderstood the Trust aspect of the Will.

The solicitor who administered the estate (if applicable) should have advised at the time as part of that work on the terms of the Trust. Also, unless the solicitor renounced/retired as Trustee, they should still be involved as a Trustee so you should go back to them if so.

1 Like

It depends on whether it is a life interest trust or discretionary trust

If life interest and if worded that if your husband survived the testator your husband’s interest vested then it should pass to his estate after death of the life tenant, but if worded to say only if he survived both the testator and life tenant then he wouldn’t but there needs be a replacement beneficiary named at this point? Or if no others named so no beneficiaries vested then the intestacy rules will take over for the testator and check on gov.uk who would inherit

If a discretionary trust there will be potential beneficiaries listed and the trustees decide who benefits during the trust period usually or there is a. Default clause Again depends on the wording. If default gift fails or the trust is defective it can revert to settlor (hence most trusts include a charity default gift) and would fall under the intestacy rules of the settlor

As advised already without sight of the wording of the Will trust we are guessing and most lawyers would charge 2-3 hours to review at their hourly rate of around 250 to 300 an hour

1 Like