Will the trust you’re involved with achieve its’ goals?
You either set up (settled) a trust in order to protect assets and manage succession, or you may be acting as a trustee for someone else. If you’re the latter, see below.
The big questions is - will the trust achieve those goals?
If you took out insurance on your homes contents you’d make sure every asset you wanted cover for was included. You’d also make sure of the the dates of the cover, so there were no gaps between policies, that the premium had been paid, and that you’d accurately answered all the insurers questions in order to comply with their requirements.
You’d also be expecting questions from them should any claim occur and for them to check that everything is in order before paying out.
Unfortunately this kind or rigor isn’t commonly applied to trusts in New Zealand. Instead, many people mistakenly believe trusts are a “set and forget” entity and underestimate the ongoing requirements in order to ensure the trust you’re involved in can meet its’ goals.
To make matters worse, it also means all the effort and costs incurred to date have been wasted.
Trusts are scrutinised. It is prudent to expect that there will always be someone opposing the protection you’ve been seeking by settling a trust.
It may be Government entity, one or more creditors, a current or ex-spouse or ex-partner, a family member, by birth or marriage (maybe one that you’ve not even met yet), a business partner or any other party you may be seeking protection from in the future.
Any lack of trust administration duties at any time before a claim could become a weapon for any of them in years to come.
Author and Financial Advisor, Martin Hawes has sold over 120,000 books about trusts in New Zealand. In his estimation 75% of the trusts he encounters wouldn’t withstand legal scrutiny.
So if the trust you’re involved with isn’t being run with the same rigor you’d use to protect your other assets, there is a real chance that it could be successfully challenged and not achieve its’ goals.
Acting as a trustee for someone else?
“Jointly and severally liable” is a phrase you never want to hear in a courtroom (unless you’re definitely on the right side of the proceedings). But that’s what co-trustees can be held to be, legally responsible for a share of the trust's actions and debts, whether they were directly involved in the actions the resulted in them being incurred, or not.
Many New Zealand trustees treat trust assets as their own, not understanding that decisions require the consent of their co-trustees.
Connectworks can help
Connectworks is a New Zealand company that has set out to resolve the major issue of the compliance of family trusts.
We’re also making trusts easy to manage and delivering secure storage for all important information for the life of your trust.
Connectworks is unique in that it links all the other parties involved in the trust, other non-professional trustees and the trust's lawyer, accountant or professional manager.
As a cloud-based product, as long as you have an internet connection, you can use Connectworks, 24 hours a day from wherever you are in the world. It’s easy and intuitive to use and there’s no software to buy or install - just log on and instantly start creating a more compliant trust.
You can start or take part in discussions then create, accept or reject resolutions. You’ll also be prompted with the tasks you need to perform, and users can sign documents electronically, `manually or even a mix of methods on the same document. Your professional advisors will also be able to easily review every action to ensure everything is in order.
Connectworks helps you at every step of the way with tips from Martin Hawes, and you can also invite your professional advisors into discussions at any time to seek their advice and help.
All the people involved in the trust will be looking at the same documents, so there’s no risk of somebody not having access to important documents or looking at outdated versions.
Connectworks automatically keeps comprehensive records of everyone’s actions to do with the Trust in line with the Trust Bill 2017.
Whether it’s tomorrow or in 20 years time, your wishes as a settlor are still clearly outlined, and the trustees will have long-term control of the trust's records and documents, even if you change advisors.
Having a well managed trust and keeping accurate records could be critical to protecting your trust from ever being successfully challenged. Key trust documents should be kept for beyond the life of the trust. Keeping this important information on paper or hard drives for this period risks exposure to floods, fire, earthquakes and more.
And a loss of information in just one location could leave the trust's records incomplete. Using Connectworks means that all the records are automatically backed up using top-levels of security plus encryption.
There’s no upfront fees or long-term contracts required when subscribing to use Connectworks, and one subscription covers all the people involved in the trust.
Connectworks will help to ensure that your trust can achieve its goals, whatever they are.
Connectworks subscriptions need to include the involvement of a professional advisor, as it's not a "do it yourself" product for trust administration. Our aim is to offer a better collaboration between all parties involved to improve compliance and management.
Once the correct subscription is selected for your trust(s) (2 party or Unlimited), then you will be invited into Connectworks and will be able to see the trusts and be involved discussions, access documents, and create, accept or reject resolutions and more.
We are more than happy to contact your lawyer / accountant or trust manager to discuss them using Connectworks with them. Just let us know the details of the professionals you use and we can contact them.
Please note. Connectworks is a software company-only. We do not manage trusts or provide legal advice.
Ask your trust's accountant, lawyer or manager about subscribing to Connectworks today.
Flexible subscription options and NZ- based support (trusts)
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Call 0800 456 580 or enquire online about a no- obligation demonstration at your firm (in person or via a webinar)
P. O Box 24-356 Wellington 6011, New Zealand
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