Trust Dispute – Alexander v Alexander [2011] EWHC 2721 (Ch)

8 March, 2012
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

In this case the court was asked by trustees of a Will trust to authorise the sale of a property which the testator had directed them to hold in trust for his step-daughter for life in order to provide her with a home.

s.57 Trustee Act 1925 allows the court a wide power to authorise trustees to sell, lease, or dispose of trust property, or purchase, invest, acquire or engage in other transactions when they are not otherwise authorised to do so.

The property in question was a cottage in which the deceased had lived which had remained unsold and empty since the deceased’s death in 2007.

The obstacle to the sale of the property was a clause in the deceased’s Will which said that the trustees did not have power to dispose of any freehold or leasehold interest in ‘the cottage’ and that it was intended that the gift should provide his step-daughter with a home in England in which to live.

The step-daughter had lived abroad for 30 years and did not want to return to the UK.

The property was uninhabitable and the court agreed to its sale after considering all of the options.

However the court did not consider a replacement property would be suitable and so ordered the sale proceeds be held on trust with the interest to the step-daughter and on her death the capital to her sons.

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