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Government reviews the law of trusts

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Justice

11 March 2014 Media Statement
Government reviews the law of trusts

The law governing private trusts in New Zealand will be updated and made more accessible, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.

Ms Collins tabled the Government's response to the Law Commission's review of trust law in Parliament today. The Commission is conducting a three-stage review of trust law. It released its first report – focused on express private trusts, which benefit individuals – in September.

“The Government agrees with the Commission’s core recommendation to replace the Trustee Act 1956 with a new Trusts Act,” Ms Collins says.

“Trust law is a key part of New Zealand’s legal infrastructure that governs an important component of our economy. The use of trusts ranges from high finance through to the family home, with an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 trusts currently operating in New Zealand.

“Introducing a new Trusts Act will make the law clearer and more accessible. This is a sensible and practical move, especially given that the current Act is more than 50 years old, and the importance of ensuring trust law meets the needs of those involved.”

The Government will undertake a more detailed analysis of the potential scope of the new Act, as well as the Commission’s 50 other recommendations, before developing new legislation.

“I thank the Law Commission for this in-depth review, as well as its ongoing consideration of other aspects of trust law,” Ms Collins says.

Stages two and three of the Commission’s work on trusts will cover charitable and purpose trusts and company trustees.


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