The new Trust Act 2019 will come into effect soon on 31 January 2021 and will replace the Trustee Act 1956. The update marks the first significant change in New Zealand’s trust law in over 60 years.

Trust Act 2019 restated and clarified the current trust law. 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 ruleson the variation and termination of trusts);
  • options for removing and appointing trustees without having to go to court to do so.

The Trusts Bill will provide better guidance for trustees and beneficiaries, and make it easier to resolve disputes.

Former Justice Minister Amy Adams


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