“A trust is a legal vehicle. This vehicle is driven by the Trustees for the benefit of the passengers, namely the Beneficiaries. If the Trustees do not meet often enough, how will they maintain this vehicle, keep it roadworthy and operating for the benefit of the Beneficiaries?” – M De Waal.
The Trust is a well-recognized institution in South Africa. It allows individuals to build up and preserve assets and funds for the sole benefit of those nominated beneficiaries of the Trust. Whilst not a separate legal entity in its own right, it is nonetheless a vehicle through which the Trustees may accumulate, administrate and dispose of assets or properties for the beneficiaries.
The Trustees are those individuals appointed to administer to the Trust assets and funds. The Trustees derive their powers and duties from the Trust Deed. A Trustee has a special duty of care, diligence and skill under the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988 to act in the interests of the beneficiaries.
Those individuals identified in the Trust Deed or subsequent amendments thereto as those persons in whose interests the Trustees must manage the properties and assets. These persons are those who benefit from the vehicle, and enjoy the ‘fruits’ of the Trust.
The Master of the High Court is the entity who oversees, amongst a variety of other jurisdictions, Trusts. It is with this institution that Trust Deeds, Trustee appointments and so on are lodged. The Master may even call upon a Trustee to account for the administration or disposal of trust assets.
THE TRUST RESOLUTION
“If it is not in writing, how will you prove it?” asks Meyer De Waal.
Each and every decision taken with regard to the administration, accumulation or disposal of Trust assets or income must be taken collectively by the appointed Trustees. One Trustee cannot decide on his/her own how the Trust must operate. The decisions must be taken by all.
The Resolution by the Trustees is the manner in which to record the decisions taken and the approval of this course of action by all the Trustees. Resolutions are adopted at Trustee Meetings. A Resolution is a short, concise document that records those Resolutions taken. Should a decision regarding the administration of Trust Property be questioned, the Resolution may be produced.
THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON TRUSTEE MEETINGS
COVID-19 has changed the way we engage with others on a scale we cannot yet comprehend. Gatherings of persons have now become a risk to not only those present, but their families and loved ones. A conventional Trustee Meeting has now become a daunting prospect, even taboo.
Innovation in these times is a must. The use of online video calling platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have allowed us to connect without leaving the safety of our own homes.
Why not use this tool for Trustee Meetings?
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU
Does your Trust Deed provide for a Trustee Meeting of this nature? You may need to amend your Trust Deed to allow your Trust to adapt to these times.
When was the last Trustee Meeting held? Were all Trustees present, including the Independent Trustee? What was the last Resolution taken?
Here at MDW we offer a wide range of Trust related services. We can assist with a variety of matters, to name a few:
Let us help you consolidate, adapt and overcome the difficult times we find ourselves in, by keeping your Trust roadworthy.
Schedule online a meeting:
MEYER DE WAAL – DIRECTOR
Tel: 021 461 0065
Cell: 083 653 6975
Author: Bevan Geyser MDW INC.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)