Trusts are a legal structure which allow for assets, like money and property, to be managed by a Trustee. The Trustee makes decisions in the best interest of the Trust’s Beneficiaries.
Trusts are established by a Will, Court Order or other agreement and is governed by a deed, a legally binding document, which outlines the terms of the trust and how it should be managed. Terms of the trust will often include details about who the beneficiaries of the trust will be, what assets form the trust, and when beneficiaries will receive benefits from the trust.
People often elect to establish a trust in order to protect assets for the future or provide ongoing financial support to their family or charitable organisation.
A Trustee is the person or company who holds the trust’s assets. The Trustee is obligated to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries in accordance with the Trust Deed, the governing document of the trust which outlines the Trustee’s power and responsibilities.
Trustees can be either a person (Individual Trustee) or a company (Corporate Trustee). When setting up a trust, many people may choose to be the trustee themselves, believing it to be the most straightforward and simple way of managing the trust. While this may be true on some occasions, there are several benefits to engaging a corporate trustee.
They can keep the peace
A corporate trustee does not have any personal stake in the trust. An individual trustee will, more often than not, have some kind of personal connection to the trust, its assets and the beneficiaries. Personal connection is not always a bad thing, but it can sometime cloud our better judgement and lead to disputes. A corporate trustee acts in the best interest of all beneficiaries.
Death or incapacity of sole trustee
Following the death or incapacity of an individual trustee there are several processes the trust must go through in order to appoint a new trustee. Alternatively, a corporate trustee will continue to be the trustee of a trust when a director dies or becomes incapacitated, which can be particularly important for trusts where beneficiaries rely on distributions of income or capital.
Protection of Personal Assets
Individual Trustees hold personal liability for all debts of the trust. If the trust is unable to meet the liabilities, the trustee’s personal assets may be used to pay the difference. Using a corporate trustee will draw a clean line between what is a trust asset and what is a personal asset.
At Abbotts, we take a client-lead approach to providing our services. We work with our clients, in conjunction with a lawyer, to administer our services in a way that is tailored to their specific needs and goals, either as trustees ourselves or by providing executive office function.
We are experienced professional trustees with established systems in place. We understand that the ideal outcomes for each trust we work with will vary and, unlike other trustees, we have the ability to provide customised services. We are experienced in designing trust deeds and getting them to work for individual situations.
The following principles underpin our approach to our role as trustee.
At Abbotts, we ensure that all structures and processes established focus on the best interest of each individual trust and its beneficiaries. We can provide the flexibility and opportunity for the distribution of funds to be tailored to the trust’s needs—dependent on the type of trust and in accordance with a well-documented Distribution Policy.
Working in the best interest of our clients is key to the team at Abbotts. Part of working in the best interest of our clients is being transparent regarding our structures and the way we operate. Our clients place a lot of confidence in us to administer their trusts, are we want to ensure that they are fully aware of how the structures we have in place operate in order to provide our services.
We work with independent financial advisors. Abbotts does not derive any income from the operations of a share portfolio or investment. Following the investment, the trust holds the investment on behalf of each client. We monitor and report on the progress of each investment.
It is essential to us that those who make decisions about payments to beneficiaries have legitimate authority to do so. We provide each of our clients a clear operating framework and a set of governing responsibilities and principles. This enables those involved in trust governance to understand and be involved in the decision-making process. This also helps meet and manage trust and beneficiary expectations.
We Provide Trust Management Services for:
As Trustee we:
Abbott Native Title Trustees acknowledges and pays respect to our clients as the Traditional Owners of their Country and acknowledges the past, present and future Traditional Owners and Elders of
this nation and the continuation of cultural and spiritual practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Abbott Native Title Trustees also acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land
where our Perth and Port Hedland offices are located, the Whadjuk Noongar People (Perth) and Kariyarra People (Port Hedland).