A trust had been set up for an intellectually disabled child who had now reached adulthood. 

The trustees of the trust were aware of the new requirements under the Trusts Act 2019 to provide information to beneficiaries and were unsure of what their responsibility would be for an intellectually disabled beneficiary who would have no ability to understand the information. 

They had understood they had to provide information to all beneficiaries.

The default position under the Act is that all beneficiaries must be provided with basic trust information and with more detailed trust information on request.  Trust information is likely to include things like a copy of the trust deed, financial statements and meeting minutes.

However, when trustees are considering providing trust information there are a variety of factors that can be considered before doing so.  One of these factors is the age and circumstances of the beneficiary.  In a situation where a beneficiary is either a child or has intellectual disabilities, meaning the information would be of no use to them, trustees are entitled to choose to not provide information on that basis.  Alternatively they may choose to provide the information to the guardian of the child, or the property manager of the intellectually disabled beneficiary (if they are an adult). 

There are many other factors that trustees are entitled to take into account when deciding whether to release information to beneficiaries, including the relationship between the trustees and some or all of the beneficiaries (e.g. if it would be to detriment of the beneficiaries as a whole.

Our recommendation is that trustees clearly record that they have gone through all of the factors in the Act before releasing information to the beneficiaries and clearly record why they have chosen not to provide particular information.

If you have any concerns regarding your responsibilities to provide information you should obtain legal advice.

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