Trusts FAQs

We have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding Trusts. 

A trustee is an individual or corporation which administers the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary, in accordance with the terms of the trust.

Some of the duties of a trustee are:

  • knowing the trust and the assets subject to it;
  • obeying the terms of the trust;
  • acting impartially between the beneficiaries;
  • exercising reasonable care;
  • investing the trust fund as directed by the trust or as the law provides;
  • seeing that trust funds are paid to the right persons;
  • acting jointly when there is more than one trustee;
  • providing prompt accounts; and
  • acting gratuitously unless the trust instrument or the law says otherwise.

A trustee must not:

  • delegate his or her duties or powers; or
  • profit in any way from the trust property.

A trustee has a responsibility to protect your trust. The role of a trustee is regulated by legislation, common law and the deed or Will which creates the trust and demands prudence, impartiality and efficient administration.

A trustee’s powers include:

  • selling, leasing, buying or mortgaging property;
  • repairing and improving property;
  • insurance;
  • carrying on a business;
  • paying maintenance and advancing funds.

How the Public Trustee can help

Being a trustee is an extremely demanding task that requires a good understanding of legal, accounting, investment and taxation matters.

Because a trust is usually administered over a long period of time, it is wise to opt for a reliable and longstanding organisation such as the Public Trustee.

If you would like more information on how the Public Trustee can look after a trust, please fill out the form below and one of our friendly representatives will be in contact to confirm your appointment, or please contact your nearest Public Trustee branch.

A trust will help provide ongoing support to your loved ones, once you have gone. Trusts not only benefit minors and individuals with disabilities! If someone in your family has a spending problem or some form of addiction, this will allow their expenditure to be monitored until a certain time that you deem appropriate. Trusts can be set up for those who are going through bankruptcy or someone who anticipates a separation or divorce.

You can also specify how you would like your beneficiaries to benefit from a trust. For instance, you might want to set money aside for your grandchildren’s education. This will allow the trustee to manage the funds of your trust and monitor expenditure, to ensure the trust continues on for as long as required for your beneficiary.

Trust administration is a complex area and many issues can arise if you are inexperienced. Therefore, it is very important you seek advice from professionals such as the Public Trustee.

If you would like to know more about how a trust can suit your needs, please fill out the form below or contact your nearest Public Trustee branch.

A Trustee may be appointed in many ways including the following:

  • by a trust established under a Will (testamentary trust);
  • by the Supreme Court of Tasmania – for example when a minor (a  person under 18) or a person without legal capacity, receives damages for personal injury in a Court case; or
  • by legislation – where Parliament has provided for the protection of minors and/or persons without legal capacity who have received sums arising from the operation of statute e.g. Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1976, Workers Rehabilitation & Compensation Act 1988 and Motor Vehicles (Liabilities and Compensation) Act 1973.

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