Appointment and removal of trustees—Scotland
Produced in partnership with Peter Murrin of Turcan Connell
Appointment and removal of trustees—Scotland

The following Private Client guidance note Produced in partnership with Peter Murrin of Turcan Connell provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Appointment and removal of trustees—Scotland
  • Appointment as trustee in Will or deed
  • Acceptance of office as trustee
  • Declinature of office
  • Conveyance, assignation and transfer of title
  • Appointment and assumption of new and/or additional trustees
  • Ceasing to be a trustee

Appointment as trustee in Will or deed

In practice, trustees are appointed (or nominated) in the relevant or applicable deed of trust. For Will trusts (or mortis causa settlements), the trust deed will be, or will be derived from, the Will of the deceased. Appointment of a trustee requires that nomination be accepted either expressly or impliedly.

Trustees nominated in terms of the majority of Scottish trust deeds are individuals or legal persons, identified by name and address at the date of execution of the trust deed. This will include solicitors' trustee companies or corporate trustees. Ex officio trustees, or trustees appointed relative to an office held externally to the trust, are also encountered albeit that these appointments are perhaps more familiar to those agents dealing with trusts having charitable purposes.

It is notionally possible to nominate any number of trustees from one trustee upward. However, it is perhaps impractical to nominate a sole trustee, more particularly where that sole trustee is an individual as opposed to a corporate trustee. Where that sole trustee dies or declines to take office, the result will be a lapsed trust—the means of dealing with which are discussed below and can be onerous. As trustees under Scots law, by default, may act by majority, professional practice tends towards a suitably numbered composition of trustees.

Unless so