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Trusts and Estate Planning

The answer used to be “Yes”, then it was “No”, and now it is again “Yes”.

I guess it all depends on which side of the bed the Master got out of this morning!

The problem arises when there’s a need to change the beneficiaries, or when the trust deed was so badly drafted that it is hardly worth the paper that it was written on.

A change  of beneficiaries should be a rare occurrence if the trust deed was well written in the first place. Usually, it will only be necessary if you’ve bought a shelf trust.

However, the vast majority of trust deeds are badly drafted, and for one reason or another, need to be amended or replaced.

When the Master did not allow a simple replacement, we had to prepare a resolution of the founder and the trustees which listed each of the amendments that were to be adopted.

This was not only very tedious, but it also discouraged us from making a particular change unless it was really necessary. That meant that most of the waffle was left without change.

Once the amendments had been accepted by the Master, then you had two documents that had to be read together – the original trust deed plus the amendments. Very confusing.

Fortunately, the Master has recently decided to accept a complete replacement. This means that we can replace pages of waffle and gobbledygook with a short, concise and well written trust deed.

That’s until the Master get’s out of the other side of the bed!



  1. Hi
    If a trust has 2 founders may you amend the trust deed later to only one founder and date it back to the original date of registration. The trust deed does allow amendments and there is a resolution where all parties agreed to change the trust to only one founder. All were submitted to the Master and accepted it like that.

    1. Hi Frits,
      I think the Master was completely wrong to accept that amendment. Perhaps it was processed by a junior. After all, if two people form a trust, then they formed it, didn’t they? They can’t then not have both formed it.


    Hi Derek..I need to talk to you again about converting my Trust to a legacy one as you advised.

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