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Managing family and beneficiary disputes


Acting for and advising an executor or trustee may involve consideration of competing interests of various family members and beneficiaries of the estate or trust. The client, of course, is the executor or trustee and the adviser’s duty is to advise that client and to look after that client’s best interests. The executor or trustee, however, will often have competing interests and obligations to various family members and beneficiaries. Providing the executor or trustee with the best advice to deal with those competing interests and obligations necessarily involves providing advice which may or may not be desired advice from the beneficiary’s perspective. This will often, in turn, lead to dispute and conflict. This article identifies where those areas of dispute and conflict are likely to arise and how the adviser may best manage such issues for the benefit of the client.

Author profile

Scott Whitla
Scott, a Partner at McCullough Robertson and an Accredited Specialist in Succession Law, has extensive experience in all aspects of estate planning, estate administration and estate litigation. Having previously worked closely in the financial services industry with financial planners and business bankers, Scott assists clients to properly organise both their personal and their business affairs. He regularly assists clients to find estate planning solutions which are tax effective and which better preserve an estate for the intended beneficiaries. Scott advises individuals, trustee companies, accountants, financial advisers and other legal firms and their clients. Scott heads up McCullough Robertson’s Equity and Private Client section of the firm and is a regular speaker for the Queensland Law Society, TEN and The Tax Institute. - Current at 21 February 2018
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