We believe the Plain English Living Will and Trust template is the solution to returning Trusts to their rightful place of protecting family assets for your children while ensuring that income and capital of the trust will be applied for your benefit in your living years. This document format also lets you take control of your own Will and future wishes without costly third parties involved.
Our approach is currently on a DIY basis, without knowing the detail or giving advice, to keep things simple and as straight forward as possible. Hopefully we are providing you with some options which may or may not be available elsewhere in New Zealand. Click this link to send us a message or comment on the templates.
New Zealand Family Trusts
Most family trusts are run, in the first instance, for the benefit of the people that set the trust up. For example, the vast number of discretionary family trusts are set up by husbands and wives and/or partners who run the trust for their benefit while they are alive, and on the basis that their children or other beneficiaries will benefit from the trust upon the death of both of the settlors. The settlors in this example never intended that their children be involved until after their death.
Disclosure regime under the Trusts Act 2019
The Trusts Act 2019 represents an effort by the Government to set out in legislation the
law relating to the administration of discretionary family trusts. The Act clarifies the
obligation of trustees to give beneficiaries basic trust information. Under the Act and
from 1 January 2021, trustees must advise all beneficiaries of the fact that those persons
are beneficiaries of the trust. The beneficiaries must also receive the name and contact
details of the trustees and the occurrence of and details of each appointment, removal
and retirement of trustees as they occur. The beneficiaries must also be advised that
they have the right to request a copy of the terms of the trust or trust information.
Trust information under the Act means any information regarding the terms of the
trust, the administration of the trust or the trust property, and such information as it is
reasonably necessary for the beneficiary to have, to enable the trust to be enforced.
Trust information does not include the reasons for trustees’ decisions.
Amending existing trust deeds
Solicitors are being asked to become innovative in their drafting of trust deeds (and amending
existing trust deeds) so as to severely restrict the categories of beneficiaries to whom
disclosure is required. However, as Solicitors, Accountants and those involved in Conveyancing are now part of the Government reporting regime (refer Anti-money laundering legislation) for entities such as Trusts, it is suggested that a DIY approach to your family trust and Wills is far simpler.
Independent Professional Trustees
With the advent of the Trusts Act 2019, it is no longer necessary, in our opinion, to have independent professional Trustees in family trusts, especially if the initial Settlors are the initial Beneficiaries of your trust while living and the initial Settlors have contracted out of Default Trustee duties. The only other restriction on forming a trust under the New Zealand Trusts Act 2019 is currently that a Sole Trustee cannot also be the sole beneficiary of a trust. If you are a single person with no family, it is suggested you should add in a charity or church beneficiary after the trust initial period and consider forming your own Company to act as Trustee during your living years.
Trusts continue to adapt and protect personal family assets
People’s circumstances change all the time in which case your trust can be adapted later to suit any changes to your personal circumstances. As has been the case in the past, trusts have continued to adapt and have proved invaluable in adding an extra layer of protection for your personal assets.
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