The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the Act) is now under review as part of a significant project that will involve consultation with the public and key stakeholders. The outcome of the review is to be reported back the Minister of Justice in November 2018. See Law Commission to review Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
Not surprisingly how the Act applies to trusts will be scrutinised with the terms of reference requiring that the matters taken into consideration by the Law Commission include:
- How the Act deals with property held by a company or trust and the powers of the courts in this area;
- The relationship between and application of the Act and section 182 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980
As a practical observation, trusts are under increased scrutiny and this can be expected to be the case for the foreseeable future. This does not mean that trusts should be avoided or that the “death knell” is sounding for trusts. But it does mean more judicious and careful use of trusts will be required if the objects of the trusts are to be met. all things in moderation. A dull message, but a really important one. Trusts have been shown to be the best form of long-term intergenerational asset protection – but maybe it is time for some fair play considerations to be introduced or at least contemplated.