The Trusts Bill had its first reading in Parliament yesterday and will now progress to Select Committee. Our expectation is the Select Committee process will take around 6 months to complete so the bill may be passed in the third quarter of 2017.
The bill seeks to clarify and modernise the law in a number of areas, most significantly by placing obligations to disclose trust information to beneficiaries. There was extensive public consultation on the proposed amendments to current trust law – it results from recommendations of a Law Commission report and a specialist panel. However there are still areas in the Trusts bill that will almost certainly be refined through the select committee process.
Further significant amendments to the bill in the area of disclosure are unlikely. For those who act as professional trustees now is the time to plan for the new disclosure regime. This will include explaining obligations of disclosure to co-trustees and to identify if and how disclosure will be made to beneficiaries. This may require some difficult decisions particularly in more complex family situations, so the lead time is important. We will be providing more detail on the disclosure requirements in the New Year.
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