Published June 5, 2018
A challenge for many trustees is identifying what trustee best practice looks like. I was recently asked to share a framework for good stewardship practice with members and invited guests of the Independent Trustee Alliance (ITA) in the USA. The ITA is looking to raise the standards of care and diligence associated with responsible trustee practice. The… Read More »
Published May 10, 2018
It’s time to change our thinking on settlor wishes. While not binding, a well-crafted letter of wishes captures valuable guidance and insight into the settlor’s purposes, intentions and hopes for a trust and its beneficiaries. That’s what American author James E Hughes Jr calls the “spirit of the gift”. In their book “The Cycle of… Read More »
Published March 22, 2018
The terms for governing a trust are set out in the trust deed. Trustees are duty bound to know and act in accordance with the terms of their trust. Each trust deed is different. Many contain unusual terms and sometimes hard to understand provisions. As one of the core roles of a trustee is informed… Read More »
Published September 14, 2017
Three years ago, I interviewed professional trustees on the challenges of trusteeship. A common issue was seen to be the lack of practical information on trustee best practice. Digging deeper, it became clearer that professional advisers needed something they could point to as best practice. Something to show co-trustees, or benchmark from. That led to… Read More »
Published August 24, 2017
In helping advisers unlock commercial value and lower their risk in advisory services, I come across many situations where professional trustees have responsibility for what I’d call a “distressed trust”. Distressed trusts are trusts with potential problems or issues. They often result in distressed trustees. They are the sorts of trusts we put on the back burner,… Read More »
Published February 17, 2017
Sometimes we’re asked to step up and take responsibility for doing something that feels difficult. An example would be where you are asked to take on a professional trustee role for a client. While we may feel obliged, we do have the freedom of choice. We can either say yes, or no. Accepting positions of… Read More »
Published November 11, 2016
Justice Minister Amy Adams yesterday released draft legislation for a new Trusts Bill for New Zealand. The draft Bill is the next stage in the review of trust law in New Zealand and builds on the initial recommendations made by the Law Commission in 2013. The intent behind the draft Trusts Bill is to make… Read More »
Published October 27, 2016
One challenge for trustees serving across many trusts, is being able to quickly access an accurate high-level overview or context for each trust in which they serve. Experienced trustees will recognise that each trust deed has its own wrinkles and potential fishhooks. It takes time to reacquaint yourself with the context, parties, property and key… Read More »
Published September 22, 2016
When I’m told someone has a family trust, I always ask if they have a professional trustee. Where they do, I then ask what are they paying them? The answer is generally “nothing”, or “I don’t know”. Here’s two observations I’d make about professional trustees not charging for their services. Often the professional has a… Read More »
Published September 1, 2016
One of the biggest risks for trustees is often seen to be a disgruntled beneficiary. I’ve often heard the trustee/beneficiary relationship described as a bit like an arranged marriage. It’s not only a relationship of trust and confidence, it’s a complex human and legal relationship. While any relationship takes work, I suspect part of the… Read More »
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