Family dispute over the setting-up of a trust rejected because plaintiff consented to the trust at the time of establishment

In a recent case, the Singapore High Court has held that a plaintiff's agreement to the setting-up of a trust to protect a family's wealth (including the assets of a deceased family member) was a valid defence for a defendant facing claims of breach of duty as executrix and breach of trust.[1] The case illustrates that the setting up of a trust structure designed to protect family wealth can defeat a claim for subsequent allegations of breach of trust.

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Filed under Estates disputes, Hong Kong and Singapore, Private wealth and trusts, Trust disputes

Jersey Court gives directions to trust company under the Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009

The Royal Court of Jersey has recently heard the second application under the Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009 (the “Foundations Law”). The Application was from a trust company in its capacity as the sole council member of a set of foundations (the "Foundations"). The trust company sought directions as to whether it could amend certain provisions of the Foundations' constitutional documents.  If the Court found that the trust company had the requisite powers, the trust company sought the Court's approval in making the amendments.

This judgment will be of interest to Asian high net worth families and their advisors because Jersey is a popular offshore jurisdiction, and more and more Asian high net worth families are considering using foundations in their structures.

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Filed under Estates disputes, Offshore, Private wealth and trusts

Solicitor fined by SRA for drawing deceased client’s funds

A former partner of a Leeds law firm agreed a fine with the English Solicitors Regulation Authority (the "SRA") after he used expired Powers of Attorney to withdraw funds from a client's bank account, in order to fund the purchase of a property for his daughter.

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Filed under Fiduciaries, London

Court finds father cannot alter his will to stop son inheriting the family farm

The English High Court has recently found that a father could not change his Will so as to prevent his son receiving sole ownership of a family farm. [1] The farm had been promised to the son over the course of many years. It was held that these promises created an equitable interest in the farm and the father was now estopped from denying the son's entitlement. The case serves as an example of when the Court will be willing to find an equitable interest in assets.

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Filed under Estates disputes

Hong Kong Court rejects case that shares were held on trust, finding that evidence adduced was inconsistent

The Hong Kong High Court has recently held that Eric Hotung had not imposed a trust in his favour when he gave HK$2,000,000 to Ho Yuen Ki in 1961 for the purchase of shares in a Macau gambling business.1 Whilst the Court declined to characterise the transfer of the funds as a gift or loan or otherwise, the Court held that the claimant's evidence at trial was so inconsistent that on the balance of probabilities it could not conclude a trust had been created.

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Filed under Hong Kong and Singapore, Trust disputes

Leading Herbert Smith Freehills lawyers to speak at major trusts conference in London

Members of Herbert Smith Freehills' Contentious Trusts team (Tom Leech QC, Richard Norridge and Gareth Keillor) will be speaking at a conference on Trustee Protection on 20 October 2016, along with a number of other leading practitioners in this area.

Herbert Smith Freehills is also the lead sponsor of the conference and a 30% discount is available. For more information, and to book and claim the discount, please click here and quote code FKW53395HSF when booking.

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Filed under Private wealth and trusts, Trust disputes

Singapore and United States affirm efforts to strengthen sharing of tax information

A joint statement issued by the United States and Singapore suggests that US authorities are seeking to accelerate off-shore tax enforcement aimed at US accountholders and financial institutions in Singapore.

A joint statement was issued on 2 August 2016 to coincide with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s state visit to the United States, announcing the two countries’ commitment to negotiate and sign “as soon as possible with the aim of doing so by the end of 2017” a reciprocal intergovernmental agreement (“IGA”) and a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (“TIEA”). The TIEA in particular would provide an avenue for US authorities to seek account information held by financial institutions in Singapore otherwise protected by Singapore’s strict bank secrecy laws.

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Filed under Hong Kong and Singapore, Offshore, South East Asia

High Court of Justice in the Isle of Man finds the Isle of Man is not bound by English Supreme Court decisions in the area of trustee mistake

The High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man has indicated that the English Supreme Court decision in Pitt v Holt1 should not be followed in the Isle of Man. At the same time, the Court reiterated that the law of the Isle of Man (known as the Manx legal system) is separate and distinct from English law.

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Filed under Private wealth and trusts, Trust disputes

France – Latest news for trusts

The trust regime in France was marked by two events this summer: the suspension of the right to consult the public register of trusts, and a decision of the French Supreme Court which brings into question the constitutionality of the fine for failure to comply with trust reporting duties. We discuss these two developments in this post.

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Filed under France, Private wealth and trusts, Tax

Professional trustees avoid liability for investment losses

The London High Court recently held in Daniel and another v Tee and others [2016] EWHC 1538 (Ch) that three professional trustees of a will trust were not liable for alleged losses of £1.5 million incurred by the trust due to its exposure to technological and telecommunications companies following the 'dot.com bubble' crash in 2001.

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Filed under Private wealth and trusts, Trust disputes