Changes effected to Trusts in Kenya by the Trustees (Perpetual Succession) (Amendment) Act, 2021

The Trustees (Perpetual Succession) (Amendment) Act, 2021 (hereinafter “the Amendment Act”) has introduced some key changes to the law of trusts in Kenya helping to clarify the landscape of trust formation and registration in Kenya.

Prior to this Amendment Act being passed, trusts were generally defined in the Trustee Act Chapter 167 of the Laws of Kenya as “implied and constructive trusts , cases where the trustee has a beneficial interest in the trust property, and to the duties incidental to the office of a personal representative”.

With respect to registration and incorporation of trusts, trusts created other than by operation of law were required to first be registered as simple trusts with the (or a) registrar of documents under the Registration of Documents Act, then thereafter, if the creator of the trust desired the trust to be a corporate body with perpetual succession, the creator then had to make a separate application to the Cabinet Secretary in charge of lands under the Trustees (Perpetual Succession) Act Chapter 164 of the Laws of Kenya, for incorporation of the trust.

The Act also did not set out timelines for registration of the trust deed or for incorporation of the trust and accordingly registration of a trust deed could take up to a month or more and incorporation of a trust could take up to 2 years or more.

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