The Law Commission has been undertaking a review of the law of trusts in New Zealand over the past four years. We can expect the reform proposals to be "wide-ranging, complex and significant", to use the Commission's words.
At Taurus Group we represent many trusts for which we are the professional trustee and our Trust Director, Rebecca Stewart, is closely following the developments in the law. Some of the key areas in the proposed new law, which will be of interest to our clients are:
- Trustee's duties will be more clearly defined and open to scrutiny
- The trustee's duty to provide information to beneficiaries will be codified and include wider mandatory obligations
- Trustees will have broader general powers as a starting point rather than having to provide for them in the deed
- The perpetuity period of 80 years may be replaced by a maximum duration of 150 years
The Ministry of Justice is currently working through the Commission's recommendations and that process will lead to the drafting of a Trusts Bill for consultation.
We will keep you informed, as this review progresses and details emerge. However, if you have any questions in regards to these changes please contact Rebecca Stewart, Trust Director, Taurus Group – 03 366 6087.