Contentious Trust Litigation: Tom has a wealth of experience in acting in contentious trust litigation and associated matters such as Re Beddoe applications. His expertise covers actions for rectification and interpretation of the trust’s governing documents, for the removal of trustees, and claims for breach of trust. A number of cases have focused on the investment powers and strategies of trustees, both individual and corporate.
Varitations of Trusts and Trust Compromises: Tom is frequently involved in internal trust litigation of this sort. Much of the effort expended is in keeping such cases out of the limelight. Radcliffe Chambers well understands the value that clients place on discretion. In one of Tom’s cases, the court’s powers in relation to compromises were used to create a non-charitable purpose trust for the benefit of a Sussex cricket club and cricket generally in a £20m estate. Tom has recent experience in acting in a compromise variation for a family with extensive landed estates in the south of England, as well as a VTA case for a family with substantial estates, worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Variations of deceased’s Estates are something of a theme: a number have been varied recently using the Variation of Trusts Act or the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975, saving the family substantial amounts of tax, as well as structuring the wealth suitably for the foreseeable future.
Non-Contentious and Other Trust Matters: In non-contentious matters, Tom’s approach is that a trust should be a tool, and not the master. He focuses, in both drafting and advising, on finding solutions to problems, rather than further obstacles. He – like his clients – want trusts to work, to add value. He has as much expertise at helping clients exit unwanted trusts or finding ways to make those trusts work where there is no escape, as he does in helping clients create the right trust or other structure for their personal wealth or family estate.
He aims to cover all the tax issues associated with the creation, use and winding up of trusts, save in the most unusual cases where particular special expertise is required. He has succeeded in obtaining tax relief in numerous cases, including some where other often well-known practitioners had advised it was not available.
He has also been involved in some of the more arcane areas of trust law, where analysis and deep knowledge are particularly important, such as the Settled Land Act 1925, entails and perpetuities.