Family trusts

What is a family trust?

A family trust is a way to hold and legally protect some or all of your assets, for you and your family, now and in the future.

You can put many types of assets into your family trust, including your home. 

Why have a family trust?

Examples of reasons for having a family trust include:

  • Keeping specific assets in the family for future generations.
  • Estate planning and tailored arrangements to protect against claims on your estate.
  • Protecting against claims in the event of relationship breakdown, used along with a Relationship Property Agreement (sometimes called a "pre-nup" or contracting out agreement).
  • Creditor protection in certain circumstances.

New Zealand trust law is changing. Talk to us about whether a family trust could suit your circumstances today and into the future.

Who should have a family trust?

Whether a family trust is right for you depends on your personal situation. As New Zealand law develops, the reasons for having a family trust change. Therefore, trusts which suited people in the past may not be right for them in the future.

Whatever your circumstances, we can provide you with all the information you need to make a decision.

What's involved in setting up a family trust?

There are three parties in a trust:

  • A person who sets up a trust is called a settlor.
  • The people the trust will benefit are the beneficiaries.
  • The people who will run the trust and look after the assets are called trustees.

When you set up a family trust, we will create a trust deed with the details of how the trust will operate. You will also decide whether to ‘gift’ or ‘sell’ your assets to the trust, this will depend on your personal circumstances and reasons for establishing the trust.

You’ll need to select trustees, who make sure the trust operates as set out in the trust deed. You can appoint yourself as a trustee to have a say in guiding the trust. Finally, you will decide who will benefit from the trust; this might include yourself, your family or a charity.

What's involved in running a family trust?

There are a number of ongoing obligations for trustees of a trust, for example holding an annual review and providing regular updates to beneficiaries.

Public Trust can act alongside you or solely as your professional trustee and help meet these obligations.

New Zealand trust law is changing. Talk to us about what your obligations are going to be in future.

Why set up your family trust with us?

Setting up a trust requires sound advice and legal expertise. We manage thousands of family trusts each year and are New Zealand’s most experienced trustee organisation.

We make things easy for you and can provide independent specialist trustee services for the life of your family trust.

We'll make sure that trust documents are safe, accurate records are kept and that all tax and other legal requirements are met. We'll also keep you up to date on the law changes that will affect your trust. 

How much does a family trust cost?

The cost of setting up a family trust depends on your wishes and assets. Once we have a better understanding of your situation, we’ll provide you with an estimate of what it will cost. To find out more, please see our fees and charges.

Talk to or meet with our experts

Whether you’re establishing a new family trust, reviewing an existing family trust or would just like to find out more, we are here to help. Speak to us now on 0800 371 471 or get in touch online to arrange an appointment.