Trust Administration Checklist

Publications > Trusts and Wills Articles

Law Commission Review Of The Law Of Trusts

Abolition of Gift Duty and Your Trust

Trust Overview

Key Steps In Establishing An Asset Protection Programme Using A Family Trust

Getting The Power Of Appointment Right

Choosing The Right Trustee

The Importance Of A Letter Of Wishes For A Discretionary Trust

Inheritance Trusts

Managing Your Trust – Trustees Must Act Jointly

Trust Documents – What Do You Have To Disclose?

Rights Of Beneficiaries

Tax Residency And Tax Treatment Of Your Trust

Trust Administration Checklist

Distributions From Discretionary Trusts

The Duties, Office And Powers Of A Trustee


Trust Administration Checklist

This checklist is put together by:

Tony Fortune, a partner specialising in Trust matters at Fortune Manning

Michael Humphries, chartered accountant of Humphries Associates Limited, and

Murray Weatherston, financial planner of Financial Focus (NZ) Limited


Review the Basics

  1. Trust deed

    – Will(s)
    – Wishes
    – Enduring powers of attorney

  2. Law changes effecting trust deed.
  3. Has the initial settlement been made (often $10)?
  4. Have acknowledgements of debt been completed for all asset transfers to the trust?

    – If joint settlors are debts split evenly between them?

  5. Were opening minutes completed?
  6. Were minutes completed at last review?
  7. Trust bank account:

    – Check to ensure no intermingling with personal accounts.
    – Ensure all trustees signatories?

  8. When to review:

    (a) at gifting?
    (b) within 6 months of 31 March?
    (c) at tax return/accounts completion?


Identifying Changes Since Last Review

  1. When are next gifts due from settlors?
  2. Record reductions in debts? Further advances?
  3. Debt reduction deed and gift statement required.
  4. Changes in beneficiary circumstances:

    – change in wishes?
    – change in wills?

Annual Accounts

  1. When are annual accounts required?
  2. Does the trust need an IRD number
  3. What is included in the annual accounts:

    (a) Statement of financial performance

    (b) Statement of financial position

    (c) Investment and income schedules

  4. Record keeping


  1. When is a tax return required?

    –  when is it due to be filed?

  2. When does tax have to be paid?
  3. GST issues – deemed registration?
  4. Depreciation rules
  5. Interest – deductibility
  6. Penalties regime

Allocating Trust Income

  1. Beneficiary income – must be allocated by 30 September
  2. Trustee income
  3. Charitable donations
  4. Beneficiaries account – debt payable on demand
  5. Capital versus income distributions – qualifiying trust

Investment Review

  1. The Prudent Person Rule
  2. A written investment policy:

    (a) Objectives

    (b) What asset classes will the trust invest in

    (c) Asset allocation

  3. A review at regular intervals (at least annually in conjunction with accepting the financial accounts):

    (a) How has the portfolio performed

    (b) Rebalancing asset classes

    (c) Changing specific investments

    (d) Minute decisions

Trustee Minutes

  1. At least annually
  2. Summarise for previous period:

    (a) activity in investments.

    (b) investment review

    (c) income allocation

    (d) distribution policy

  3. For the following period (if known or planned):

    (a) outline anticipated distribution policy

    (b) identify anticipated investment changes