Trustee Act: New Obligations for Trustee Accounting

The new Trustee Act came into force on February 1, 2023. There are a few new changes, however, this alert focuses on the new obligations with respect to trust accounting. For a fulsome summary of the changes, see the article linked here.

Trustees must now provide annual reporting of the trust accounting to “qualified beneficiaries” unless the trust instrument states otherwise. “Qualified beneficiaries” include those who have a vested interest in the trust and any beneficiary that has given written notice to the trustee that they wish to be a qualified beneficiary.

As such, if you or your clients are trustees of any trusts, this is a good time to revisit the trust deed to:

(a)    confirm who the qualified beneficiaries are;

(b)   determine whether the trust deed includes any provisions limiting or allowing waivers for reporting and accounting;

(c)    if the trust deed is silent on any accounting requirements or states that it is subject to the applicable legislation, then determine whether the trust can and should be amended to relieve or limit the statutory accounting requirements; and

(d)   if an amendment is desired, determine if the trust deed permits amendments and, if yes, through what mechanisms.

If you would like assistance reviewing and potentially amending a trust deed, determining your obligations under the new Trustee Act, or generally have any questions related to Trusts or taxes, please contact a member of our Tax Group or Estates & Trusts Group.