Trustees—retirement of trustees
Trustees—retirement of trustees

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Trustees—retirement of trustees
  • Express provision in the trust instrument that a trustee may unilaterally retire
  • Retirement under the statutory power in section 39 of the Trustee Act 1925
  • Retirement and replacement under the provisions of section 36 of the Trustee Act 1925
  • Retirement under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
  • Consent of all beneficiaries
  • Court order
  • Indemnity on retirement

In principle, the office of the trustee is lifelong. Nevertheless, a trustee may retire in a number of ways:

  1. by the exercise of a provision in the trust instrument

  2. if someone can be found to replace them, they may retire under the provisions of section 36 of the Trustee Act 1925 (TA 1925)

  3. under the statutory power in TA 1925, s 39

  4. by the beneficiaries' written direction under section 19 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA 1996)

  5. with the beneficiaries' consent

  6. by court order under TA 1925, s 41

Express provision in the trust instrument that a trustee may unilaterally retire

A trust instrument may give a trustee an express, unilateral right to retire. However, there is a perception that such a clause provides encouragement for a less than conscientious trustee to take ‘the easy way out’.

A trust instrument may provide for the automatic retirement of trustees on reaching a certain age.

Retirement under the statutory power in section 39 of the Trustee Act 1925

A trustee who wishes to retire has the right to do so under TA 1925, s 39. However, the right can only be exercised if:

  1. a trust corporation or two ‘per