Trust Act changes

The Trusts Act 2019 (Act) came into effect on 30 January this year and replaced the Trustee Act 1956 - the first major legislative update to trust laws in over sixty years. The Act provides increased guidance for trustees as well as beneficiaries, makes disputes easier to resolve, but also provides for increased disclosure to beneficiaries.

The Act also sets out certain rules that must be followed by all trustees, referred to as "mandatory duties" in the Act, together with what are described as "default duties", which apply to all trustees unless the trust deed specifies otherwise.


What it means

As a result, our Trusts team have been busy dealing with some of the more unfortunate effects of the Act, particularly regarding the "disclosure" regime set out in the Act, together with the onerous default rules imposed on trustees. We have completed numerous trust reviews, resulting in some cases in a determination that the trust in question was not fit for purpose. As a consequence, we have completed a number of trust restructures or, in other instances have distributed trust assets to beneficiaries, followed by winding up the trust. In other cases we have made amendments to trust deeds to bring trust terms into alignment with the new Act, while preserving the original intentions of the settlors of those trusts at the time they were set up.

If you have a trust and require the services of trust experts to review and provide advice in relation to the new Act, or would like to discuss whether having a trust is (still) of benefit to you, get in touch with your trust experts here.