Q&As

A property was settled on trust in 1973 by Mr and Mrs X for Mrs X for life and thereafter for their two daughters in equal shares. One daughter has children, one does not. Mrs X remains alive. All parties wish to add the grandsons as beneficiaries but there is no express power in the trust deed itself. Can the three beneficiaries together consent to the amendment of the trust deed without the court's assistance under the rule in Saunders v Vautier despite it being a trust of land?

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Produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings
Published on LexisPSL on 07/05/2021

The following Private Client Q&A produced in partnership with Lynne Counsell of 9 Stone Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A property was settled on trust in 1973 by Mr and Mrs X for Mrs X for life and thereafter for their two daughters in equal shares. One daughter has children, one does not. Mrs X remains alive. All parties wish to add the grandsons as beneficiaries but there is no express power in the trust deed itself. Can the three beneficiaries together consent to the amendment of the trust deed without the court's assistance under the rule in Saunders v Vautier despite it being a trust of land?
  • The rule in Saunders v Vautier
  • Variation of Trusts
  • Trusts of land
  • Summary

A property was settled on trust in 1973 by Mr and Mrs X for Mrs X for life and thereafter for their two daughters in equal shares. One daughter has children, one does not. Mrs X remains alive. All parties wish to add the grandsons as beneficiaries but there is no express power in the trust deed itself. Can the three beneficiaries together consent to the amendment of the trust deed without the court's assistance under the rule in Saunders v Vautier despite it being a trust of land?

The rule in Saunders v Vautier

The rule in Saunders v Vautier is that all beneficiaries of a trust who are of full age (now 18) and who have capacity are entitled to terminate the trust and require the trustees to distribute the assets according to the terms of the trust. There are two factors to note about the case:

  1. it involved only one beneficiary but was extended to trusts with multiple beneficiaries

  2. the rule applies even if there is a contrary provision in the Will/trust instrument. The trust in the case directed that stock be held on trust for the settlor’s nephew until he attained the age of 25. The nephew successfully petitioned for termination of the trust once he became 21, which was then the age of majority

Variation of Trusts

If minors or unborns are beneficiaries

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