New Zealand Law Society - Bill to update trusts law introduced to Parliament

Bill to update trusts law introduced to Parliament

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Justice Minister Amy Adams has introduced the Trusts Bill to Parliament. The bill will replace the Trustee Act 1956 in the first signficant change in New Zealand trust law in over 60 years.

The proposed changes are largely based on recommendations for modernising and clarifying trust law made by the Law Commission in 2013. An exposure draft of the Bill was released in late 2016 for consultation.

Ms Adams says the Trusts Bill will provide better guidance for trustees and beneficiaries, and make it easier to resolve disputes.

She says some of the changes include:

  • A description of the key features of a trust to help people understand their rights and obligations.
  • Mandatory and default trustee duties (based on established legal principles) to help trustees understand their obligations.
  • Requirements for managing trust information and disclosing it to beneficiaries (where appropriate), so they are aware of their position.
  • Flexible trustee powers, allowing trustees to manage and invest trust property in the most appropriate way.
  • Provisions to support cost-effective establishment and administration of trusts (such as clear rules on the variation and termination of trusts).
  • Options for removing and appointing trustees without having to go to court to do so.
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