A trust is a legal relationship where one person or organisation, the trustee, manages the assets for the benefit of another person or organisation, the beneficiary.
The main reason to set up a trust is to protect the interests of those who will benefit from the trust. People often establish trusts in their Will to provide ongoing financial security for their spouse (or domestic partner), children, and/or grandchildren. People can also start a trust for their favourite charity.
A trust is a way to provide a legacy that will continue long after you are gone, and we can assist you in every aspect of organising a trust.
Generally trusts are established by a Will or a deed that sets out the terms of the trust and specifies:
- Who can receive benefits from the trust,
- What assets form the trust, and,
- When the beneficiaries can start receiving benefits from the trust.
A trustee may be appointed in a number of ways. They can be appointed:
- By the settlor (a person who provides funds for the benefit of another).
- By a person with the power to appoint the trustee (e.g. an existing trustee who no longer wishes to act in the role).
- Through being named in a Will.
A trustee has many duties and obligations which they need to perform, which include to:
- Act in the trust’s and beneficiaries’ best interests.
- Identify and protect trust assets.
- Provide outcomes that balance the beneficiary’s wishes with any rules or constraints contained in the trust authority (the Will, trust deed, Court Order, and the law).
- Distribute trust assets in accordance with the trust authority.
- Provide financial reports on the trust’s assets and the distribution of any assets and/or income from assets (e.g. rental income).
- Compliance with the Trustee Act 1936, in particular the prudent person principles regarding investments.
- Maintain records to show compliance with the trust authority and the law.
The responsibility of a trustee is ongoing, complex, and it involves many obligations. If you are a trustee or executor, and are either unable or no longer wish to perform the duties required of a trustee then, you may be able to transfer these responsibilities to us.
You can be assured that the beneficiaries will get the benefit of a professional and experienced trustee for the term of the trust.