Execution formalities—private trusts
Execution formalities—private trusts

The following Commercial guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Execution formalities—private trusts
  • Simple contracts
  • Deeds
  • Companies Act companies
  • Non-Companies Act companies

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on the proper execution of simple contracts and deeds for private trusts.

Simple contracts

Simple contracts must be executed by all the trustees.

In certain circumstances, however, simple contracts can be executed by fewer than all the trustees. These are:

  1. where the settlement instrument provides for execution by fewer than all the trustees

  2. where execution is at the direction of a competent court, or

  3. where the trustees or some of them have delegated their powers to another trustee or appointed an agent attorney, nominee or custodian

In all cases the manner of execution will depend on whether the trustee is an individual or a corporation.

A trustee who is an individual can enter into a simple contract under signature. No witness is needed. The execution clause should state the names of the individuals and the capacity in which they are signing, ie as trustees of the trust. See Practice Note: Execution formalities—individuals.

A corporate trustee could sign in its own name acting by its directors or director and secretary or by a single director whose signature is witnessed and attested to. In addition, the common seal can be affixed and attested to by two directors. See Practice Note: Execution formalities—companies.


Deeds are commonly used as a form of written agreement in the following circumstances:

  1. where no