The trustees are the legal owners of theproperty.
There can be any number of trustees, unless theincludes land, in which case the maximum is four. For most the number of trustees ranges from two to five.
Where theincludes land, there must be a minimum of two trustees unless one trustee is a corporation.
There is no restriction on who may be a trustee, except that they must be over 18 and sane.
Who Can Be A Trustee?
Most trustees are individuals. It is possible to appoint a corporation as a trustee. Banks offer their services as trustees and the Government has a department, the Public Trustee, which also does this type of work, however this is likely to be at some cost and normally it is a slow process that may cause delay and potentially extra distress at a strained time.
Considerations When Choosing A Trustee
The settlor must specific the trustees at the outset of any trust. Choosing the right trustee is far from easy. Here are just some of the things which may help you decide:
Do they process integrity? Your affairs are probably private.
Are they honest? You would not want the proceeds going to anywhere other than intended.
Are they willing? Do they normally thrive or shy away from responsibility as they may be gate-keeper for a large amount of money. Is their live already hectic?
How old are they and are they in good health? For obvious reasons they would ideally need to out-live the settlor.
Will they understand what is expected of them and appreciate your objectives? For instance you may want someone who is financially astute on investments and taxation.
Will they need to become a UK resident?
It should also be noted that all trustees must be over 18 and sane.
What Are the Trustees Responsibilites?
The purpose of the trustees’s job is to hold theproperty and adminster it for the benefit of the beneficiaries, as directed by the provisions.
1. The trustees must ensure that everything they undertake with theproperty is carried out for the benefit of the benefciaries and that it is authorised in accordance with the terms of the and/or general law.
2. The trustees should keep the title documents to anyproperty, for example life policies and share certificates.
3. The trustees should ensure that they, the trustees, are all registered as the legal owners on any relevant registry, for example, on the register of shareholders of a company or land registry.
4. Thedeed usually allows the trustees specific powers to deal with the property. For example, if any money is deposited in the trust, the trustees have a duty to invest it, unless it is being paid out to a beneficiary immediately.
What Are The Trustees Statutory Requirements?
The trustees conduct must adhere to the Trustee Act 2000. This act, which become effetive on the 1st February for the following year, established a new statutory duty of care when exercising their duties under thedeed or under the Trustee Act itself, wherby Trustees must act with due care and skill, allowing for the particular skills and experience of the trustee in question. The duty of care applies to the exercise of investment powers, appointment of agents, acquisition of land, custodians and nominees, and the insurance of the property.
In exercising investment powers undert the Trustee Act 2000 trustees must:
have full regard to the suitability of the investment
understand and implement the need for diversfied investment portfolio
keep investments under review and vary them if appropriate
obtain professional investment advice. This is unless the amount to be invested is significantly small and therefore disproportionate in relation to the advice fees.
keep proper accounts of allproperty. The beneficiaries are entitled to view these on demand and they can also request reasonable information about the dealings of the trust.
Can The Trustees Charge For Their Services?
The lay trustees cannot charge for their services. This is under the principle that trustees are unable to benefit fromproperty and if they were to do so they might create conflicts of interest.
Corporation trustees can normally charge for their services under an express professional charging clause. This clause is found in most moderndeeds, however, where it is not present corporate trustees can charge for services performed since the 1st February 2001 under the Trustee Act 2000, as section 29 creates an express professional charging clause applicable to all non-charitable trusts that do not provide for remuneration of corporate trustees.