Stephen Alexander, ‘When does a beneficiary benefit?’

It is a well-recognised principle that trustees, acting as fiduciaries, must exercise their discretionary powers for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust. A wrongful exercise of those powers will be a breach and may be set aside by a court. In most cases, the question of whether the exercise of the discretion is of ‘benefit’ to the beneficiary is obvious. However, there are occasions where it is not so, particularly where the ‘benefit’ to the beneficiary is not direct or is not fiscal in nature. In these cases, trustees must tread carefully. The Royal Court’s recent decision in In the matter of the May Trust [2021] JRC137 provides important clarification on what constitutes a ‘benefit’ and is essential guidance for trustees in this often misunderstood area.

Stephen Alexander, When does a beneficiary benefit?, Trusts and Trustees, Published: 9 October 2021.

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