Trusts law overhaul passes third reading

A Bill to make trust law easier to understand will become law, says Justice Minister Andrew Little.

The Trusts Bill will replace the Trustee Act 1956 with a clear, modern statement of the law relating to trusts.

“Trusts are a common part of our legal infrastructure and are used by New Zealanders to manage their assets. It is important that people can get information about the law so that they can understand their rights and obligations,” says Andrew Little.

Principal changes include:

  • clarification of key features of a trust and the duties of trustees
  • clear rules about when trustees are required to provide information to beneficiaries so that beneficiaries can enforce their rights
  • practical and flexible trustee powers that allow trustees to manage and invest trust property in the most appropriate way
  • options for removing and appointing trustees without having to go to court in straightforward cases
  • modern dispute resolution procedures
  • permitting amendments to certain financial and commercial trusts to enable specified provisions of the Bill to not apply to those trusts.

The Bill will take effect 18 months after it receives Royal Assent and becomes an Act of Parliament.