Trustees have always had a duty of care towards the trust beneficiaries. However the Trustee Act 2000 put certain duties in connection with trustee investment on statutory footing and also introduced certain duties which require trustees to be more pro-active and ensure that the duties imposed on them by law or the terms of the trust are carried out.
The main responsibility of trustees are:
- A duty of care where the trustees act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and within the terms of the trust.
- Have regard to the standard investment criteria, which mentions that trustees should when appropriate use a spread of investments and ensure the investments are suitable and the need to produce an appropriate balance between income and capital growth to meet the needs of the trust.
- A duty to obtain and consider proper advice and to keep the investments of the trust under review. The requirement to obtain advice does not apply if the trustees reasonably conclude that in all the circumstances it is unnecessary or inappropriate to do so. This may cover a case where, for example, the trust fund is small and the cost of advice would outweigh the benefit of it or if the trustees are suitably qualified and can provide this advice at reasonable cost.
Other duties can include, keeping records and accounts, investing assets in a prudent manner and distributing the trust assets when required. Our ongoing trustee service can help you ensure you meet many of your duties as a trustee.