Trustee Knowledge Series: Advanced Paper Eight: Amending Mistakes
Published: 16 Mar 2022
“Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied…” Pearl S. Buck.
It is almost inevitable that during the life of most trusts (which can now last indefinitely in many jurisdictions) there will be some sort of mistake. The remedy available is dependent on who made the mistake, the nature of the mistake and when the mistake was made. Whilst some mistakes can be remedied without too much trouble, there are some mistakes incapable of being remedied and others that will require the approval of the court. With the exception of mistakes made by the draftsman of the trust document, the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984 (Law) was amended by the Trusts (Amendment No. 6) (Jersey) Law 2013 to put the doctrine of “mistake” onto a statutory basis.
Mistakes in trusts vary and unfortunately are not uncommon, especially due to the long life of many trusts. Thankfully, jurisdictions such as Jersey have laws and jurisprudence that will assist in remedying such mistakes, although proper legal advice should be sought as soon as possible after becoming aware of the mistake to avoid unnecessarily perpetuating the consequences of the mistake.