In Australia, a trust deed is a legal document that sets up a trust and explains the rules of the trust. It sets out the rights and responsibilities of the trustees, the beneficiaries, and the settlor (the person who establishes the trust).

It also sets out the assets that are to be held in trust and the rules for managing and distributing those assets. Trust deeds are commonly used in Australia for estate planning and asset protection.

A trust deed is a legal document that lays out the rules for how your fund will be set up and run. Information such as the fund’s goals, eligibility requirements, and payment options (lump sum vs. income stream) are all included. The rules of the fund are outlined in the trust deed and the applicable statutory laws.

The trust document must meet the following requirements:

  • since it’s a formal document and needs to be created by an expert
  • Affirmed and dated by each Trustee
  • conforming to the requirements of the applicable state or territory law
  • consistent monitoring and timely modification.

Legally, trustees are subject to several duties and regulations. A trustee can’t get anything from a trust unless the terms of the trust say so. For example, if the trust says the trustee can charge for its services, the trustee can’t get anything from the trust. In all cases, the rationale for and total cost of fees must be made public.

  • The trustee’s authority and discretion are limited by the terms of the trust deed, which must be followed at all times. According to the law, a trustee is subject to the strictest and most onerous duties when a trust is established.
  • All decisions made by the trustees must be made with the beneficiaries’ best interests in mind, rather than the trustees’ or the settlor’s.
  • Be careful with the trust’s money and assets; a trustee is responsible for a breach of trust if the trust’s money or assets are lost because the trustee did not act responsibly. The legal standard of care for a professional trustee is higher than for an amateur trustee. If the trustees don’t take reasonable care, it will be seen as a breach of trust, and the beneficiaries will be able to ask for their money back. Trustees have a responsibility to oversee any corporation in which they have a majority stake.

Trust And Trust Deed Creation

A trust is an agreement in which one person (the trustee) takes care of assets (the trust property) for the benefit of another person or people (the beneficiaries). Superfunds are a type of trust that only exists to give retirement benefits to its members, who are called beneficiaries.

You’ll need the following items and some legal savvy to establish trust:

  • corporate trustees’ board of directors
  • guidelines for conduct (a trust deed)
  • assets (the trust can be created with a small initial payment, such as $10, connected to a trust deed, and the law will recognize the trust).
  • Those Who Can Be Identified As The Beneficiaries (members)


Assets must be set aside for the benefit of members to create a fund. A small sum (say, $10) can be held with the trust deed if a rollover, transfer, or contribution is anticipated shortly. This sum is a donation and must be assigned to a specific participant.

When a member can’t contribute to the SMSF (for example, because they are over 65 or don’t meet the job requirements), administrative discretion is automatically used to let the member make a small contribution. To register the SMSF, money must be given to the member.

What Are The Benefits Of A Trust Deed?

The practical benefits of a trust come from the fact that the trustee, who is the official or legal owner of the property, is not the same person as the beneficiaries, who use or benefit from the property.

In Australia, having a trust deed can help in many ways, including:

Securing Property

With the help of a trust, assets can be kept safe from possible lawsuits and creditors.

Tax Avoidance

Beneficiaries’ tax burdens can be mitigated through the use of trusts.

Planned Leavings

After the settlor dies, the trust can be used to manage the assets and give them out according to what the settlor wants.


The structure of a trust can be changed to fit the settlor’s and beneficiaries’ needs and goals.


By setting up a trust, the grantor can continue to manage the assets even after they have been given to the beneficiaries.


By establishing a trust, you can shield your assets from public view and avoid the probate process.


With the right planning, a trust can continue to exist after the settlor dies, so the beneficiaries can keep getting benefits.

Strategy For The Future

By putting a company’s ownership in a trust, the next generation can take over and protect the company’s assets from any lawsuits.

Succession Planning

Setting up a trust can help meet the needs of family members with special needs, such as those with disabilities, without putting their access to government aid at risk.

Charitable Giving

If a trust is set up to give money to qualified charities, the person who sets it up and their estate may get tax breaks.

Investment Management

By setting up a trust, beneficiaries can have their assets managed and invested on their behalf. This could give them access to professional investment management and help them diversify their portfolios.

Protecting Vulnerable Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries can be protected from the effects of bad money management or demands from creditors by putting their money in a trust.

It’s important to note that trusts have a complex set of rules and regulations that must be followed, so it’s best to have an attorney help you set one up so that it achieves your aims and the law’s requirements.

Challenges With Trust Deed

Trust deeds in Australia can face several difficulties, including:


It is common for people who are not lawyers to feel overwhelmed when they try to learn about trusts.


Fees for lawyers, accountants, and other services needed to set up and run a trust can add up to a large amount.


Depending on the situation, the settlor, trustee, and beneficiaries of a trust may all have different tax obligations.


It can be time-consuming and expensive to properly maintain trust over time.

Laws Change

Australian trust laws and regulations are complex and susceptible to frequent change.


can make it hard for people to get along because they may have different ideas about how the estate should be run and how the money should be divided.

Limited Control

In other cases, the settlor may have little say over the trust’s administration or distribution of assets once they have been handed over to the trust.

Limited Ability To Change Terms

When a trust is established, its provisions are considered permanent and cannot be altered.

Most of the time, you need to talk to a lawyer and an accountant to make sure that a trust is set up and managed correctly.


When it comes to your estate, your assets, and your taxes, trust deeds can be very useful tools. However, they are intricate legal frameworks that need constant management and oversight. Trusts may be expensive and complicated to set up and manage, so it’s best to get help from a lawyer and an accountant. And because trust law and regulation are always evolving, it can be confusing to deal with.

Before establishing trust, it is vital to consider the advantages and disadvantages.

To know more, go to the trust deed sample.

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