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  • Amending a trust deed is tricky.
  • Tax must always be taken into account.
  • NSW duty must also be considered.

I’ve asked to meet here at our pub’, says Bruce the barrister to Sam the solicitor, ‘because the brief you sent me is like a bag full of hissing snakes’.  ‘What  the  heck?’ asks Sam. Sam had briefed Bruce about a family discretionary trust set up by his client Charlie’s father.

Three years ago, Sam had been instructed by Charlie’s accountant to update the 1978 trust deed. The main worry was the vesting date – the earliest of 21 years after the death of the last surviving descendant of King George V, who was then alive, 40 years from the date of the deed, or such earlier date as the trustee may resolve. There was also an issue in that, for some reason, after Charlie’s father’s death, the person having the power to remove and appoint trustees became Charlie’s uncle. The deed also needed updating generally.

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