Law Commission releases preferred approach paper on law of trusts

The Law Commission is seeking feedback on a number of proposed reforms designed to make the law governing trusts clearer and more accessible to the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who use them.

Trusts provide an alternative way of managing property or other assets and are unusually common in this country. Trusts serve a wide variety of purposes, including allowing self-employed persons to separate business from personal assets and providing a mechanism for the orderly control and transmission of wealth, such as a family farm. They are set up privately with no requirement to register or report.

Consultation on earlier discussion papers suggests a proportion of trusts are not well-administered and some trustees do not adequately understand the obligations that their role entails.

The Commission’s proposals have been published in a preferred approach paper (Law of Trusts: Preferred Approach Paper (IP31, 2012), which brings together the key findings and recommendations that have emerged during stage one of their comprehensive review.

The Commission welcomes any comments or submissions on the Issues Paper. The closing date for submissions is Friday 22 February 2013.