Update on Divided Trusteeship Drafting Committee

The drafting committee for an Act on Divided Trusteeship met just outside of Washington D.C. on Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24, 2015. The meeting was well attended, not only by the Commissioners, but also by our ABA Advisors and numerous observers—including prominent practitioners and representatives from several major trust banks.

The main agenda item was review of a “discussion draft,” with an emphasis on resolving several critical policy questions: What should be the duties of a directed trustee? What should be the duties of a trust director? To what extent should these duties be default, subject to override by the settlor in the terms of the trust? Should the law governing the duties of co-trustees be reformed to align with directed and divided trusteeship? Another important agenda item was to resolve a host of subsidiary implementing questions, as noted in the discussion notes of the discussion draft and the issues memo that accompanied the draft.

The committee reaffirmed its earlier decision to employ an “enabling” structure for the act. The discussion draft authorizes directed and divided trusteeship, but only to the extent provided by the terms of a trust. That is, instead of creating categories of persons with default powers over the administration of the trust, the draft authorizes the naming of a “trust director” with such powers—but only such powers—as given expressly by the terms of the trust.

Toward the end of the meeting the committee decided to recast the project as an Act on Directed and Divided Trusteeship for clarity and to align better with practice jargon.

When the meeting adjourned on Saturday afternoon, there was a strong sense that considerable progress had been made. This meeting was the second of what is planned to be five in-person drafting sessions. The committee is scheduled to meet again in Spring 2016, Fall 2016, and Spring 2017. After the Spring 2016 meeting, the committee will read the then-current draft of the act at the Annual Meeting of the Uniform Law Commission in Summer 2016. After the Spring 2017 meeting, the committee will read the proposed final version at the Annual Meeting in Summer 2017, at which the Uniform Law Commission will be asked to approve the act.

Robert H. Sitkoff, Chair; Turney P. Berry, Vice-Chair; John Morley, Reporter

Update on Divided Trusteeship Drafting Committee