Source: Taxation In Australia Journal Article
Published Date: 1 Jul 2011
Disputes about the right of a beneficiary of a trust to inspect trust documents are commonly
encountered, but there is little appellate authority on the issue. In March 2011 the New South Wales Supreme court delivered judgment in the matter of Silkman. The decision stands for the proposition that the limited approach contained in Schmidt v Rosewood Trust is preferred over the more expansive approach contained in In re Londonderry's Settlement; Peat v Walsh. Under the Schmidt approach, a beneficiary does not have a proprietary interest in trust documents, with the result that a beneficiary will not have an automatic right of production and inspection of such documents. Rather, a beneficiary may only obtain such documents by
requesting the court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction to intervene in the administration of the trust.
This article examines the Silkman decision in detail, and discusses its legal implications.
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