The original Settlement Deed has been misplaced but the trustees have a copy. Can you advise the best method to resolve this and help me identify the problems this may pose? Will there be issues opening Trustee accounts in the future on behalf of the trust etc?
Is the copy an unsigned copy, or a facsimile of the executed deed?
If the later, I suggest the trustees consider executing a statutory declaration with the copy attached, confirming that the copy is a true and exact copy of the original deed.
I believe this will generally be sufficient evidence - at least for a court and, hopefully, for the compliance officer of any financial institution.
If the copy is of the unsigned deed, are the solicitors involved in its drafting still around. It may be that the person responsible for the draft could make a statutory declaration to the effect that the settlement was executed in the form of the copy, although that will undoubtedly require the firm to research its archives to be able to verify the position. That is probably as good as one can get, short of a court application to confirm the accuracy of the copy (although has such an application ever been attempted?)
Paul Saunders FCIB TEP
Independent Trust Consultant
Providing support and advice to fellow professionals