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Trust in your family, but it may lead to inheritance dispute

16th July 2013

Aged 78, John Wild died in June 2009 leaving substantial assets including a Warwickshire country home worth more than £1m and a business empire valued at around £2.3m. Prior to his death Mr Wild put in place a ‘discretionary family trust’ which he hoped would ensure his family – a wife, a son and a daughter – would receive his business assets in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

However, mother and son fell out over his belief that she had cut him out of her own Will and the son refused to allow the payment of a £500,000 share of the trust assets to his mother.

Many people speak to a solicitor for wills regarding advice on how best to manage inheritance tax, and trusts can, in certain cases, be a suitable means. However, to enable funds to be released from a trust, all trustees must agree the payments and in the Wild family dispute, as a trustee, the son had the right to veto the transfer of funds to his mother.

In London’s High Court, Mr Justice Arnold upheld the claim of Mrs Wild, and her daughter, ruling that the son should be removed from his role as trustee and that funds should be transferred to Mrs Wild as soon as possible.

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