Q&As

Can a bare trustee sell an investment without the beneficiary's approval if they are unable to confirm the beneficiary's instructions?

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Published on LexisPSL on 20/05/2015

The following Private Client Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a bare trustee sell an investment without the beneficiary's approval if they are unable to confirm the beneficiary's instructions?

Can a bare trustee sell an investment without the beneficiary's approval if they are unable to confirm the beneficiary's instructions?

The investment powers and duties of bare trustees is something of a grey area.

A bare trust exists where a trustee holds property for a beneficiary of full age and mental capacity. Strictly speaking, the trustee has no active duties other than to preserve the trust property and transfer the trust property to the beneficiary as they direct, although, in practice, the trustee may well be prepared to do much more than this, especially where the trustee is a close family member of the beneficiary. It is arguable that the duty to preserve the trust assets might require the trustee to take and act on investment advice in a situation where it was not possible to obtain instructions from the beneficiary. The duty to preserve the trust assets may well also extend to keeping the assets insured.

The trust deed may give the trustee express powers of investment. In the absence of an express power, it

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