TRUST LAW CHANGES NEW ZEALAND

Sep 2, 2019

Trust law changes: New Zealand. What are they, and how will they affect you and your trust?

The main changes are:

  • Trustees will now have some mandatory duties to fulfill
  • Trustees must disclose certain information to all the beneficiaries – no more opacity!
  • Trustees are being given more flexible powers
  • It should become cheaper to setup and run a trust
  •  You might be able to remove and appoint a trustee and not have to get the courts involved
  • Trust lifespan will be up to 125 years
  • Some beneficiaries could become settlors!

Now, you might already be doing this, but here are some more changes; the new law lists core documents that all trustees need to retain:

If you are a client of EpsomTax.com Limited, you (hopefully) already do this.* But if you don’t have up-to-date financial statements for your trust, you will have a lot of work (and expense possibly) ahead of you (contact us for a quote on 099730706). That might be this lady’s problem…?

Anyway, another big big change for trustees is that you will need to tell the beneficiaries info such as:

  • “Oh, by the way: You’re a beneficiary of our trust.” (Could be awkward)
  • Who the trustees are and how to contact them
  • Info about changes of trustees etc etc
  • The beneficiary has a right to see the deed of trust and info about the trust! ​

BENEFICIARIES BECOME SETTLORS – HOW?

Here is the jargon: Section 67 of the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2019-20, GST Offshore Supplier Registration, and Remedial Matters) Act 2019 enacts an amendment to section HC 27 of the Income Tax Act 2007.

That amendment provides that when a beneficiary of a trust is owed an amount by the trust, the beneficiary does not become a settlor of the trust if –

  • a. the trustee pays to the beneficiary in the income year interest on the amount owing at a rate equal to or greater than the prescribed rate of interest:
  • b. the amount owing at the end of the income year is not more than $25,000.

This amendment comes into force on 1 April 2020, and does not have retrospective effect.

How do you know if one of your beneficiaries is owed more than $25,000 by the trust? The trust will need a balance sheet, at the very least, to track this.

What should you do if this is the case?

  1. Pay out the beneficiary (check with your lawyer first), or
  2. Pay interest to the beneficiary for the use of their money, as described above

​Yikes! So, some big changes coming. For a more detailed summary, please visit this page at Weston Ward & Lascelles Lawyers.^


* See a link to our blog articles on this subject here
^ This link does not constitute an endorsement of EpsomTax.com Limited by Weston Ward & Lascelles. Please contact them or your own lawyer for more information on what this means for your trust. EpsomTax.com Limited cannot provide legal advice; for accounting and taxation advice, please contact us.

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