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Backdating documents

Financial services advisers are often involved in the completion process attaching to the various documents that go along with a core financial services product. A good example of this is a trust which &#34surrounds&#34 a protection policy. It is well known that sometimes tying up the signature and dating of the trust document can cause logistical problems. However, for those attempting &#34shortcuts&#34 it is worth bearing in mind that under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, backdating a document is forgery and a criminal offence which can result in a fine or imprisonment. Section 9 of the Act states that an instrument is force if, inter alia, it purports to have been made &#34on a date which it was not in fact made&#34.



Commentary



Perhaps the most obvious example where a document could be &#34knowingly&#34 dated at a date other than that when it was actually executed is where a deed purports to appoint additional trustees (those trustees actually signing the deed) under a policy trust which has not in fact yet come into existence but which is described in the deed of appointment as being in existence. In these circumstances, whilst the trustees may sign the deed of appointment, the words &#34leave undated&#34 may be seen on the deed.



The need to either appoint additional trustees on or after the date the trust is in force or, if they are appointed before this time, to provide for a formal assignment of the policy to them after it is in force stems from the fact that as they would not have been parties to the life assurance contract they will not have title vested in them unless:



(i) they are appointed subsequent to trust property coming into existence



or



(ii) the trust property is formally vested in the them say by assignment.



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