Greenlion Have Some Recommendations Regarding the New Zealand Trustee Act 2019

Friday 13 December 2019, 11:18PM
By Beckie Wright

The New Zealand Trustee Act 2019 has been passed, and although this doesn’t come into full force until 30 January 2021, Greenlion say there is quite a lot to take in. The purpose of this Act is to restate and reform New Zealand trust law setting out the core principles of the law relating to express trusts; and providing for default administrative rules for express trusts; and providing for mechanisms to resolve trust-related disputes; and making the law of trusts more accessible.

Greenlion explain that there are a number of changes that affect all trusts, and some of the biggest are enumerated as follows. Firstly, trustees must inform all beneficiaries of the trust that they are beneficiaries and that they can request information about the trust.

Secondly, at least one trustee needs to hold all the core documents and records of a trust and keep them updated, and thirdly, the maximum duration of a trust (the perpetuity period) has been extended from 80 years to 125 years.

Trustee duties have now been clarified:


Know the terms of the trust

Act in accordance with the terms of the trust

Act honestly and in good faith

Act for the benefit of beneficiaries or to further the permitted purpose of the trust

Exercise powers for proper purpose


General duty of care

Invest prudently

Not to exercise power for own benefit

Consider exercise of power

Not to bind or commit trustees to future exercise of discretion

Avoid conflict of interest

Duty to be impartial

Duty not to profit

Trustee must act for no reward

Trustee must act unanimously

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