Trusts are common in New Zealand for asset protection, holding family wealth and providing incidental tax benefits. Trust compliance and trustee obligations have increased significantly in recent years as have disclosure requirements in trust tax returns. The downsides of non-compliance can be significant. Baker Tilly Staples Rodway are trust compliance experts and ready to provide trustee services to clients where we also provide accounting services.
Independent trustee services
We are available to act as independent trustees. To meet the fiduciary requirements in the Trusts Act 2019, we expect to be actively involved with the administration of all trusts in respect of which we accept a trustee appointment.
As trustees can be personally liable for debts incurred by the trust, we assess each request to act as a trustee on a case-by-case basis. We would also usually expect to prepare the trust’s financial statements and be the appointed tax agent, thereby providing sufficient overview of the trust’s affairs to discharge our fiduciary obligations.
At a minimum, it is expected that each trust will have an annual meeting that includes a discussion about the trust’s financial position and consideration of what should be distributed to and disclosed to the beneficiaries. For any significant transaction, we would expect the trustees to have prior knowledge of and approve the transaction before the trust makes any contractual commitment.
Active trusts holding significant investments and/or undertaking regular transactions would be expected to hold more regular meetings to monitor and, where necessary, obtain appropriate advice on the activities of the trust. Note that we do not provide formal investment advisor services.
With a Baker Tilly Staples Rodway trustee company as your trustee, our aim is to ensure your trust is properly administered to:
- Protect the trust’s assets.
- Reinforce the nature of the trust relationship.
- Reduce the risks of third party and/or beneficiary claims on the trust and/or its trustees.
- Ensure the trustees are aware of developments impacting on the trust.
- Ensure the settlor’s wishes and the terms of the trust are adhered to.
As an independent trustee, we can help with:
- The maintenance of trust records – which is a mandatory duty on all the trustees.
- The preparation of the trustee resolutions (in conjunction with your legal advisors)
- Facilitating trustee meetings, including the preparation of agendas, taking minutes of trustee meetings and assisting with action items arising from the meeting.
- Resolving queries that may arise from transactions.
- Trust tax return filing and completing the required disclosures to Inland Revenue.
Having acted for many families who have successfully transitioned family wealth through multiple generations, aided by the effective use of trusts, Baker Tilly Staples Rodway is proud of its history and expertise when dealing with trust matters. Contact one of our trust experts below.