Signing Documents on Behalf of Trustees

Posted on Wednesday, January 23 2013

Sometimes, one of the trustees of a trust which owns, or wants to buy, a property wants to sign a document on behalf of one or more of the other trustees. This may be because the documents need to be signed in a hurry, or because one of the other trustees is out of town.
However, most trust deeds require decisions to be made unanimously, and any document which is not signed by all of the trustees may not be binding.
Ther may be ways to avoid problems where not all trustees will be available to sign.
Most trust deeds allow the trustees to appoint an agent to act on behalf of the trustees, to do things like collecting rent, manage a property, or negotiate a sale or purchase. However, the other party to any contract signed by an agent will want to see evidence that the agent has been appointed by the trustees, such as a resolution signed by all trustees, together with a copy of the relevant clause from the trust deed.

NZ Family Trust

If one of the trustees is travelling outside New Zealand or is temporarily physically incapacitated, the law allows that trustee to appoint someone else to act in his or her place while he or she is away or incapacitated. This is done by the trustee siging a deed of delegation. However, the delegation is only effective while the trustee is out of New Zealand or incapacitated.
If you know that your trust may have to sign some documents and that one or more of the trustees may not be available to sign, you should plan ahead and take steps to make sure the trust can validly enter into contracts without all of the trustees having to sign.

Mike Toepfer – Aspiring Law

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Expert's Bio

Mike Toepfer

Aspiring Law is a general practice firm, offering the best in legal services and advice to our local Upper Clutha community, as well as our national and international clients. We recently launched our new firm, after taking over AWS Legal’s Wanaka office. We’ve carefully tailored our firm’s services and culture to meet the needs of our business, and wider, community. Clients from further afield also draw on our specialist expertise, particularly advice and support around property, including large-scale developments, and agribusiness. As our clients have come to expect, the cornerstone of our new practice remains excellent, timely advice, underpinned by personalised, genuine service and support. Further to that, we’re really excited about building further on our community-based initiatives to educate and inform people on legal issues, and do our part in finding meaningful, innovative ways to support our area. Before that I was at large Auckland firm Hesketh Henry for 17 years - over 13 years as a partner and 10 years on the firm's board of management and as property team leader. I have specialised in all types of property transactions for the last 27 years.

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