For some trustees the new disclosure obligations from 30 January 2021 will not be a surprise.
Others may need to consider if they are comfortable as trustees with the new obligations. Each duty is personal to each trustee, whether the beneficiaries are your own children or not. Your personal obligations include looking after trust property, insurance, accounting, knowing who the beneficiaries are, and considering their needs. As a trustee, you are required to know what the trust is up to, and everything your co-trustees are doing.
If its your own family it’s not about checking that the trust still fits your original purpose – it’s about whether it serves the interests of all the beneficiaries.
New Zealanders traditionally settled trusts to protect their families and lifestyles that their property supported; business people to limit risk to business assets, families to protect a home against expensive rest home costs, and others to stop assets being sold to meet demands perhaps of an adult child’s partner.
Some legal and family changes argue compellingly for having or retaining a trust. But, ominously, it is growing area of law. The Courts are scrutinising trusts as never before, and judges comments in cases we have presented disclose a willingness to make highly intrusive rulings on trustees. It is not too soon to call us if your trust has not been reviewed in the last 10 years, or your circumstances have changed in that time.
Call us and we can talk through these things including what the new Act may mean for you.
For further information, or to make an appointment please call us on 03 477 8080.