Today the Commission released its report entitled Review of the Law of Trusts: A Trusts Act for New Zealand (R130, 2013). The report recommends the introduction of a Trusts Act to replace the Trustee Act 1956. The new Act would be a comprehensive statute that modernises the law of trusts in a number of areas and addresses key matters that are currently only governed by case law.
If enacted, the new Trusts Act would be relevant to tens of thousands of New Zealanders who use trusts as an alternative way of holding and managing property or other assets. It is estimated New Zealand has 300,000 to 500,000 trusts used for a variety of purposes, ranging from owning the family home through to use in business by charities, and by many, including Māori, to hold land and other assets collectively.
The Government will now consider the recommendations in the Law Commission’s Report and will respond to them in due course.