Trust Disputes

We are experts in high-value, complex multi-jurisdictional trust disputes in the UK and in all major offshore jurisdictions.

We act for trustees, beneficiaries, protectors and trust-related institutions. We advise on contentious trust litigation and applications to court for directions in relation to the administration of trusts.

As trusted advisers who understand the sensitive dynamics in trust and family disputes, we act intelligently for our clients – maximising the chance of securing desired outcomes and preserving family wealth for future generations.

Our range of services includes:

  • breach of trust claims;
  • removal of trustees;
  • preliminary applications for disclosure and confidentiality;
  • trustee indemnities and costs protection;
  • fraud and asset tracing, constructive trust claims, freezing orders, knowing receipt and accessory liability;
  • trust disputes in the context of English matrimonial proceedings;
  • regulatory and criminal investigations;
  • litigating rights of beneficiaries/creditors;
  • rectification, mistake and construction applications;
  • applications for court approval (blessing applications) and other directions for the administration of trusts;
  • variation of trust applications; and
  • stress-testing complex structures to mitigate the risk of future litigation.

We work closely with our market-leading private client team (and the best local lawyers on cross-border matters) to provide a seamless service and to ensure that tax and structuring issues are fully integrated into the strategy for resolving a dispute.

We also advise clients who find themselves caught up in cross-border investigations by regulatory authorities into trust assets or beneficiaries. We assist in navigating the increased complexity caused by such investigations. We understand that such investigations mean that trustees are required to adjust how they operate – with a focus not only on the internal management of trusts but on the needs and requirements of external authorities.

What people are saying


"Macfarlanes’ trusts lawyers are exceptional, and the standard against which I measure other firms. The team is technically brilliant, commercially reasonable, and a pleasure to work with. Advice is timely, solutions focused, and always excellent value for money. In terms of key capabilities, the firm is a powerhouse for private client and tax. Private client matters often touch on corporate, securities, insolvency, and financing matters and what sets Macfarlanes apart is the ability to deliver fully integrated advice and assistance across all of the key private client touch points."

The UK Legal 500 2022

"They are a first-class team. It's an absolute pleasure to work with them."

Chambers HNW 2021

"They are a first-class team. It's an absolute pleasure to work with them."

Chambers HNW 2021

"I go to Macfarlanes with my most challenging cases and always know that I will get the best possible result. There is a seamless integration of tax, trust, corporate and litigation knowledge."

Chambers HNW 2023