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Lost trust deeds


The ongoing maintenance of any trust structure is critical for all advisers working in the area. In particular, the starting point for all trust-related matters is ensuring trustees understand the exact terms and rules of a trust. However, when a trust’s rules are uncertain due to the loss of the original deed, there is a threshold issue of a likely breach of the trustee’s duty to ascertain the terms of the trust. This can have serious implications for the beneficiaries, as well as impact the trustee’s future ability to administer the trust from a tax perspective. This article explores a number of pathways and issues that trustees and advisers should consider when a trust deed has been lost or misplaced. This article also provides a summary of the key advantages and disadvantages for each of the main pathways explored.

Author profiles

Matthew Burgess CTA
Photo of author, Matthew BURGESS Matthew co-founded specialist firm View Legal in 2014, having been a lawyer and partner of one of Australia’s leading independent law firms for over 17 years. Matthew’s passion is helping clients successfully achieve their goals. Matthew specialises in tax, and estate and succession planning, providing strategic advice to business owners and high net worth individuals. He has been recognised in the Best Lawyers list since 2014 in relation to trusts and estates and either personally or as part of View Legal in Doyles since 2015 in relation to taxation, and since 2017 in relation to wills, estates and succession planning. In part leveraging off the skills he has developed working in the SME market space, Matthew has been the catalyst for a number of innovative legal solutions for advisers and their clients, including establishing Australia’s first virtual law firm. - Current at 13 August 2018
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Hayden Dunnett
Hayden is a Law Clerk with View Legal.
Current at 1 December 2016


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