What is a Independent Trustee?
An independent trustee is a person who cannot benefit from the income or assets of the trust, nor are they related to a beneficiary of the trust, and can thus play a crucial role in the proper separation between ownership of the trust assets and the enjoyment thereof.
In a landmark case in 2005 – Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa v Parker – the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that there was no proper separation of ownership or control of the trust assets from their enjoyment or use. As the trustees are entrusted with the control of the assets in the interest of the beneficiaries, inadequate separation may result in the trust being regarded as an extension of the estate of the founder.
The court suggested the appointment of at least one independent outsider as trustee to every trust where all the beneficiaries are related to one another, which resulted in the Master of the High Court enforcing the principle and requiring all newly formed family business trusts to appoint at least one independent trustee.
Louwrens Koen Attorneys act as Independent Trustee for your Family Trust at a reasonable Fee.