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    Trusts Act 2019 - Trust record keeping requirements

    The Trusts Act 2019 prescribes with detail the requirements of the trustees to now hold and retain various trust documents. It is important to note that these obligations apply with retrospective effect. That is it applies to all documents since the settlement of the trust and not only those from after the Act comes in to force.

    Section 45 provides that each trustee, so far as is reasonable, must keep a copy of the “core documents” relating to the trust. These core documents are; the trust deed, variations of the trust deed, details of all assets and liabilities, records of trustees decisions, written contracts, accounting records, documents changing trustees, letter of wishes, any documents held by a former trustee and any other documents necessary for the administration of the trust.

    These core documents are to be held for the duration of the trustee’s trusteeship. At the time the trusteeship of a trustee ends they must give the core documents which they hold to their replacement trustee or one of the continuing trustees.

    It will be acceptable in a trust with more than 1 trustee where each trustee holds a copy of the trust deed and variations of the trust deed and at least 1 of the trustees hold the balance of the core documents and will make these available to all trustees on request. Some oversight will be needed to ensure any trustee holding all of the core documents ensures they are current and available or that will be a breach by all trustees of that trust.

    The provisions of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 permit that all records and documents can be held electronically and this would apply to all of the core documents. This will make the retention of what by the end of the trust’s life may amount to a considerable number of documents easy and efficient to retain, review and transfer to successive trustees. 

    Given these very detailed but simple requirements the onus will now be on trustees to develop systems and arrangements to ensure effective compliance.

    Read more on how Connectworks can help firms meet these obligations here: Meeting the Trust Act 2019 recordkeeping requirements with Connectworks

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