Interpretation Of Family Trusts: Case Update Millar v Millar

To date there has been little authority for the interpretation of family trusts. However, in the recent High Court case of Millar v Millar [2018] EWHC 1926 (Ch), HHJ Paul Matthews stated that 'there can be no doubt that the principles of interpretation for commercial documents set out in [the West Bromwich case] also apply to trusts and wills'. These rules were applied by the Supreme Court in the will construction case Marley v Rawlings [2015] AC 129.

The claim in Millar concerned the contradictory wording of separate clauses in a lifetime trust. Two earlier clauses gave vested interests in the reversion to the settlors and created a power of appointment exercisable in favour of the settlors amongst others; whereas a later clause excluded the settlors from receiving any benefit from the trust. The solicitor who drafted the trust deed confirmed in a witness statement that the later clause should not have been...

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