Staying up-to-date with your Family Trust

Don and Debbie signed up to buy their dream home. Taking the advice of their lawyers, they formed a family trust and were named as trustees. They asked their old family friend Doug to act as their independent trustee. They signed the paperwork, moved in on settlement day, and lived happily ever after, forgetting all about their family trust… until ten years later when Don and Debbie’s business ran into financial strife and they decided they would need to refinance their mortgage to raise extra funds.

They tried to contact their previous lawyers but discovered they were no longer in practice. They tracked down their trust deed from a dusty old box under the stairs and then they remembered that four years ago their friend Doug had written to them to tell them that he was retiring and off to travel the world, so he would need to step down as trustee. They had filed the letter at the time and forgotten all about it. Doug was still on the title to their home and they had no idea where in the world he was now!

Getting very concerned, Don and Debbie realised they would need a new lawyer to sort out this mess. Friends recommended Bell Associates, so they gave them a call.

Bell Associates assured Don and Debbie that they could sort it all out. They advised them that they should appoint a new independent trustee to ensure that their family trust was genuine and could not be labelled a “sham” anytime in the future. Next they explained to Don and Debbie that the change of trustees would need to be formally documented and signed by Doug, as well as the new trustee. The title to their home would also need to be transferred from Doug to the new trustee. Luckily for Don and Debbie, Doug was back in New Zealand for a short time before he headed away again so was able to pop into Bell Associates' office & sign all the necessary paperwork.

Bell Associates had also contacted Don and Debbie’s new bank with details of the new trustee, and received bank instructions within a few days. Don and Debbie signed all the paperwork and were able to draw down their new bank loan the very next day.

Don and Debbie were very relieved that they were now receiving good legal advice, and agreed with Bell Associates’ recommendation that they diarise to review where things were at with their family trust once a year, just to make sure that they were always up-to-date.

If you think that you need to get your family trust “up-to-date”, please contact us for good legal advice that will give you peace of mind.