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Revamp for 60-year-old trust laws

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/11/2016

New Zealand's 60-year-old trust laws are going to by revamped, Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced.

She's released draft legislation based on Law Commission recommendations and it's open to submissions.

Ms Adams says between 300,000 and 500,000 trusts are operating in New Zealand and people use them every day to manage their finances.

An estimated 15 per cent of private homes are held in trusts.

"Our 60-year-old law is complex and hard to navigate," she said on Thursday.

"They're scattered across the Trustee Act and a variety of decisions made by courts over many years."

Proposed improvements include:

* Making it easier for people to understand how to appropriately use trusts to manage their affairs

* Clear mandatory and default trustee duties so people know what their obligations are if they're involved in managing a trust

* Requirements for trustees to manage and provide information to beneficiaries

* Flexible trustee powers and updated rules

* Clear rules for when people make changes to a trust or wind them up

* More options for removing and appointing trustees without having to go to court while also preserving people's ability to ask the courts to intervene to resolve disputes.

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