Revised Trustee Act

February 16, 2023

The revised Trustee Act received royal assent on April 29, 2022, and came into force on Feb. 1, 2023. The Act aspires to clarify trust laws, to make creating and managing trusts more efficient, and to limit the need for court involvement. It improves the management of trusts for businesses and decreases administrative burdens on beneficiaries.

While the predecessor Act predominately focused on trusts created under wills, the new legislation is adapted for modern business and applies beyond testamentary situations. Some examples include real estate investment trusts that fund land development and royalty trusts.

New provisions of the Act include:

  • updating the duty of care to improve consumer protection, making it consistent with the Estate Administration Act;
  • including an explicit duty by a trustee to report to beneficiaries and be responsive to beneficiary requests to improve transparency, reduce the need to attend court and reduce the cost of administering a trust;
  • allowing for a temporary trustee when a trustee is temporarily absent or incapacitated;
  • allowing for an unfit trustee to be removed and adding a process for a trustee to resign;
  • allowing trustees to perform their duties and powers by majority;
  • recognizing, validating and regulating non-charitable purpose trusts; and
  • allowing for the use of evidence from outside the trust document for a court to determine a settlor’s intention.

Lawyers who practice in areas outside of wills and estates, including family, real estate conveyancing and corporate commercial, are encouraged to attend training on the Act.