You will undoubtedly be aware that the Government is to abolish gift duty from the 1 October 2011.  For those who still have a gifting programme to complete, there is an opportunity to fund such in one hit, but the abolition of gift duty is not the only issue affecting trusts and estate planning.  Others include:

  • At tighter means testing regime to be applied by the Ministry of Social Development for residential care subsidies, with a particular spotlight being focused on Trusts.
  • Controversial “trust busting” Court decisions affecting relationship property as well as the ability of company directors to hide assets in trusts.
  • A new Wills Act 2007 and a reformatted enduring power of attorney process.
  • The Law Commission embarking on a comprehensive review of trust law, signalling significant changes in a number of areas.
  • Heightened liability for independent trustees.

We believe that the use of trusts is unlikely to diminish, but more and more Trusts are likely to be challenged.  There is no question that the Government is tightening up in areas of income assistance as well as benefit fraud.  Trust beneficiaries are demanding greater transparency and are holding trustees accountable for past decisions.  Trusts are likely to be subjected to increased scrutiny.

Should you have any queries about your trust or any matters relating to trusts we urge you to speak to your solicitor.

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