DELAWARE TRUST LAW STANDARD
2019 Delaware Code
Title 12 – Decedents’ Estates and Fiduciary Relations
Chapter 33. Administrative Provisions
§ 3302 Degree of care; authorized investments
[For application of this section, see 79 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 6; 81 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 8].
(a) When investing, reinvesting, purchasing, acquiring, exchanging, retaining, selling and managing property for the benefit of another, a fiduciary shall act with the care, skill, prudence and diligence under the circumstances then prevailing that a prudent person acting in a like capacity and familiar with such matters would use to attain the purposes of the account. In making investment decisions, a fiduciary may consider the general economic conditions, the anticipated tax consequences of the investment and the anticipated duration of the account and the needs of the beneficiaries; when considering the needs of the beneficiaries, the fiduciary may take into account the financial needs of the beneficiaries as well as the beneficiaries’ personal values, including the beneficiaries’ desire to engage in sustainable investing strategies that align with the beneficiaries’ social, environmental, governance or other values or beliefs of the beneficiaries.
(b) Within the limitations of the foregoing standard and considering individual investments as part of an overall investment strategy, a fiduciary is authorized to acquire every kind of property, real, personal or mixed, and every kind of investment, wherever located, whether within or without the United States, including, but not by way of limitation, bonds, debentures and other corporate obligations, stocks, preferred or common, shares or interests in common funds or common trust funds, securities of any open-end or closed-end management type investment company or investment trust registered under the Federal Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. § 80a-1 et seq.), options, futures, warrants, limited partnership interests and life insurance. No investment made by a fiduciary shall be deemed imprudent solely because the investment is not specifically mentioned in this subsection.
(c) The propriety of an investment decision is to be determined by what the fiduciary knew or should have known at the time of the decision about:
(1) The inherent nature and expected performance of the investment portfolio;
(2) The limitations of the standard set forth in subsection (a) of this section; and
(3) The nature and extent of other investments and resources, whether held in trust or otherwise, available to the beneficiaries as they existed at the time of the decision; provided however, that the fiduciary shall have no duty to inquire as to the nature and extent of any such other investments and resources not held by the fiduciary held by the fiduciary in a trust or trust account subject to the direction of an adviser or cotrustee authorized to direct the fiduciary with respect to investment decisions, within the meaning of § 3313(d) of this title, concerning the assets held in the trust or trust account, or held by the fiduciary in a trust or trust account where a cotrustee has exclusive authority with respect to investment decisions, within the meaning of § 3313(d) of this title, concerning the assets held in the trust or trust account.
Any determination of liability for investment performance shall consider the performance of the entire portfolio and such other factors as the fiduciary considered when the investment decision was made.
(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, a trustee who discloses the application of this subsection and the limitation of the trustee’s duties thereunder either in the governing instrument or in a separate writing delivered to each insured at the inception of a contract of life insurance or thereafter if prior to an event giving rise to a claim thereunder, may acquire or retain a contract of life insurance upon the life of the trustor or the trustor’s spouse, or both, without liability for a loss arising from the trustee’s failure to:
(1) Determine whether the contract is or remains a proper investment;
(2) Investigate the financial strength or changes in the financial strength of the life insurance company;
(3) Make a determination of whether to exercise any policy option available under the contract;
(4) Make a determination of whether to diversify such contracts relative to 1 another or to other assets, if any, administered by the trustee; or
(5) Inquire about changes in the health or financial condition of the insured or insureds relative to any such contract.
(e) Any fiduciary acting under a governing instrument shall not be liable to anyone whose interests arise from that instrument for breach of fiduciary duty for the fiduciary’s good faith reliance on the express provisions of such instrument. The standards set forth in this section may be expanded, restricted or eliminated by express provisions in a governing instrument.
(f) Where a bank or trust company acting in a fiduciary capacity invests trust funds in, or otherwise acquires an interest in, a common trust fund which it or 1 of its affiliates manages, as defined in § 23A of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. § 371c), the plan for such common trust fund shall be filed and recorded in the office of the Register in Chancery of the county in which is located the main office in Delaware of the bank or trust company which is the fiduciary for such trust funds.
(g) Fees may be charged for making an investment through a computerized or automated process, such as sweeping otherwise uninvested cash into a cash management vehicle, provided that the amount of such fees is disclosed on a continuing basis as a separate item on the regular periodic statements furnished to the beneficiaries of the account.
(h) A fiduciary is authorized, in the absence of an express provision to the contrary, whenever a law, regulation, governing instrument or order directs, requires, authorizes or permits investment in United States government obligations, to invest in those obligations, either directly or in the form of securities of, or other interests in, any open-end or closed-end management investment company or investment trust registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (54 Stat. 847, 15 U.S.C. § 80a-1 et seq.), if the portfolio of that investment company or investment trust is limited to United States government obligations and to repurchase agreements fully collateralized by United States government obligations, which collateral shall be delivered to or held by the investment company or investment trust, either directly or through an authorized custodian.
(i) Except in the case of United States government obligations, which are treated in subsection (h) of this section above, the authority to invest in specified types of investments includes authorization to invest in any open-end or closed-end management investment company or investment trust registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (54 Stat. 847, 15 U.S.C. § 80a-1 et seq.), or in any common or collective trust fund established and maintained by a corporate fiduciary, if the portfolio of the investment company or investment trust, or of the common or collective trust fund, consists substantially of the specified types of investments and is otherwise in conformity with the laws of the State.
25 Del. Laws, c. 226, § 3; Code 1915, § 3875; 37 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 230, § 1; Code 1935, § 4401; 44 Del. Laws, c. 171, § 1; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 3302; 64 Del. Laws, c. 141, § 3; 65 Del. Laws, c. 422, § 5; 72 Del. Laws, c. 55; 74 Del. Laws, c. 81, §§ 1, 2; 75 Del. Laws, c. 97, § 18; 79 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 2; 81 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 4.
§ 3303 Effect of provisions of instrument
[For application of this section, see 79 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 6; 79 Del. Laws, c. 352, § 6; 80 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 2; 81 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 8].
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code or other law, the terms of a governing instrument may expand, restrict, eliminate, or otherwise vary any laws of general application to fiduciaries, trusts, and trust administration, including, but not limited to, any such laws pertaining to:
(1) The rights and interests of beneficiaries, including, but not limited to, the right to be informed of the beneficiary’s interest for a period of time, as set forth in subsection (c) of this section;
(2) The grounds for removal of a fiduciary;
(3) The circumstances, if any, in which the fiduciary must diversify investments;
(4) The manner in which a fiduciary should invest assets, including whether to engage in 1 or more sustainable or socially responsible investment strategies, in addition to, or in place of, other investment strategies, with or without regard to investment performance;
(5) A fiduciary’s powers, duties, standard of care, rights of indemnification and liability to persons whose interests arise from that instrument; and
(6) The terms of a power of appointment over trust property;
provided, however, that nothing contained in this section shall be construed to permit the exculpation or indemnification of a fiduciary for the fiduciary’s own wilful misconduct or preclude a court of competent jurisdiction from removing a fiduciary on account of the fiduciary’s wilful misconduct. The rule that statutes in derogation of the common law are to be strictly construed shall have no application to this section. It is the policy of this section to give maximum effect to the principle of freedom of disposition and to the enforceability of governing instruments.
(b) In furtherance of and not in limitation of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the terms of a governing instrument of a trust established and existing for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes or for noncharitable purposes shall not be modified by the court to change the trust’s purposes unless the purposes of the trust have become unlawful under the Constitution of this State or the United States or the trust would otherwise no longer serve any religious, charitable, scientific, literary, educational, or noncharitable purpose, in which case the court shall proceed in the manner directed by § 3541 of this title. A settlor may maintain an action to enforce a charitable or noncharitable trust under this section and may designate a person or persons, whether or not born at the time of such designation, to enforce a charitable or noncharitable trust under this section. For purposes of this subsection, a “noncharitable purpose” is a purpose within the meaning of § 3555 or § 3556 of this title.
(c) The terms of a governing instrument may expand, restrict, eliminate, or otherwise vary the right of a beneficiary to be informed of the beneficiary’s interest in a trust for a period of time, including but not limited to:
(1) A period of time related to the age of a beneficiary;
(2) A period of time related to the lifetime of each trustor and/or spouse of a trustor;
(3) A period of time related to a term of years or specific date; and/or
(4) A period of time related to a specific event that is certain to occur.
(d) During any period of time that a governing instrument restricts or eliminates the right of a beneficiary to be informed of the beneficiary’s interest in a trust, unless otherwise provided in the governing instrument, any designated representative (as defined in § 3339 of this title) then serving shall represent and bind such beneficiary for purposes of any judicial proceeding and for purposes of any nonjudicial matter, and shall have the authority to, and is a proper party to, initiate a proceeding relating to the trust before a court or administrative tribunal on behalf of any such beneficiary.
(e) For purposes of this section, “judicial proceeding” means any proceeding before a court or administrative tribunal, including but not limited to, a proceeding that involves a trust whether or not the administration of the trust is governed by the laws of this State, and “nonjudicial matter” includes, but is not limited to, the grant of consents, releases or ratifications pursuant to § 3588 of this title and the receipt of a report for purposes of measuring the limitation period described in § 3585 of this title.
25 Del. Laws, c. 226, § 3; Code 1915, § 3875; 37 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 230, § 1; Code 1935, § 4401; 44 Del. Laws, c. 171, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 19, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 41, § 1; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 3303; 59 Del. Laws, c. 271, § 3; 72 Del. Laws, c. 388, § 9; 74 Del. Laws, c. 82, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 97, § 3; 76 Del. Laws, c. 90, § 1; 76 Del. Laws, c. 254, § 3; 79 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 2; 79 Del. Laws, c. 352, § 2; 80 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 4; 82 Del. Laws, c. 52, § 1.
§ 3304 Retention by fiduciary of decedent’s or settlor’s investments.
Unless expressly provided otherwise in any instrument specified in § 3303 of this title, any provisions in any such instrument prescribing, defining or limiting the kind of property in which the funds of the trust to which such instrument relates shall be invested shall not apply to any property owned by a testator at the time of the testator’s death and delivered to the fiduciary by the personal representative of such testator who has created a trust by the testator’s will or delivered by the settlor to the fiduciary of a trust created in a trust agreement or delivered to the fiduciary pursuant to a court order or other instrument creating or defining the fiduciary’s duties and powers and such fiduciary may retain all such property so acquired, subject to the limitations of the standards set forth in § 3302 of this title. Furthermore, a provision in any such instrument directing the retention of any such property as a trust investment shall be deemed to waive any duty of diversification otherwise applicable to the fiduciary with respect to such property and shall exonerate the fiduciary from liability for retaining the property except in the case of wilful misconduct proven by clear and convincing evidence in the Court of Chancery.
25 Del. Laws, c. 226, § 3; Code 1915, § 3875; 37 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 230, § 1; Code 1935, § 4401; 44 Del. Laws, c. 171, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 41, § 1; 12 Del. C. 1953, § 3304; 70 Del Laws, c. 186, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 330, § 3.