DISCLAIMER: All the information published in the Trust eSpeaking articles is true and accurate to the best of the authors’ knowledge. It should not be a substitute for legal advice. No liability is assumed by the authors or publisher for losses suffered by any person or organisation relying directly or indirectly on this article. Views expressed are those of individual authors, and do not necessarily reflect the view of this firm. Articles appearing in Trust eSpeaking articles may be reproduced with prior approval from the editor and credit given to the source.  Copyright, NZ LAW Limited, 2019. Editor: Adrienne Olsen. E-mail: Ph: 029 286 3650 or 04 496 5513.

Issue 32 – Autumn 2021

The latest edition of Trust eSpeaking discusses recent developments in succession law and the Maori Land Court’s trust jurisdiction, a recent High Court decision which discussed a trustee’s ability to claim expenses, and a summary of the new Trusts Act 2019 information disclosure requirements.

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Issue 31 – Spring 2020

The latest edition of Trust eSpeaking discusses the effects and pitfalls of signing of documents during the Level 4 COVID lockdown and reviews two recent trust decisions: the first case involved a review of a trustee’s decisions in circumstances where she allowed family bias to affect her decision making; the second involved a successful claim under s 44 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 which resulted in the reversal of a transfer of property to a trust.

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Issue 30 – Autumn 2020

The latest edition of Trust eSpeaking looks first at succession law in New Zealand and, in particular, the Law Commission review of New Zealand’s inheritance laws. Next, how many people should you name as attorneys in your enduring powers of attorney? Finally, how much can a disinherited child expect to receive when making a claim on an estate?

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Issue 29 – Spring 2019

The Trusts Act 2019, which comes into force on 30 January 2021, imposes new mandatory and default duties on trustees. The issue of income deprivation where assets have been transferred to trust has also been considered by the Court of Appeal in the context of residential care subsidies. Finally, we look at the growing trend towards grandparents providing for grandchildren in their wills.

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Issue 28 – Autumn 2019

The Law Commission is reviewing the ability of the Family Court to access trust assets when couples separate. Read more about the increased powers that have been proposed, as well as what to do when a family member loses capacity and doesn’t have Enduring Powers of Attorney, and ways parents can protect themselves while help children into the property market.

Issue 27 – Spring 2018

Do you still need a trust, or should you bring it to an end? Also, what can be done if your Will is invalid.

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Issue 26 – Autumn 2018

When your spouse or partner dies you need to choose to take what you have been left in their Will, if anything (Option B), or to make a claim against their estate (Option A).

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Issue 25 – Spring 2017

The proposed new trusts legislation has started its path through the House.

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Issue 24 – Autumn 2017

Most owners want to ensure their business will continue after they have died. Often they want their family to be able to carry on the business.

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Issue 23 – Spring 2016

The extent of a trustee’s obligation to provide information to beneficiaries has been a continuing source of frustration for trustees.

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Issue 22 – Autumn 2016

With the growth of multiple relationships and blended families many couples are having to consider ways to ringfence assets and protect inheritances.

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Issue 21 – Spring 2015

If you set up your trust some years ago, it may be time to consider whether the trustees you appointed are still right for the role.

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Issue 20 – Summer 2015

Ten years ago the idea of protecting your digital assets after your death, or if you lost mental capacity, would have been regarded as absurd. Many of us now regard this as critical. However, there’s very little guidance available on how best to ensure these assets are identified and dealt with in these situations.

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Issue 19 – Spring 2014

“Dying without a will? Messy, expensive and time-consuming.”

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Issue 18 – Autumn 2014

“The Pike River Mine tragedy has changed the way in which health and safety is thought about. This, and other legislative changes, are likely to have major effects for trustees in the future. If your trust owns any type of business or farm, the trustees need to start thinking more about their responsibilties.”

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Issue 17 – Spring 2013

“There are a number of common assumptions made about access to a person’s Will and what happens after the Will-maker has died.”

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Issue 16 – Autumn 2013

“It was very common in the 1990s for New Zealanders to set up discretionary family trusts in the hope that by putting assets in the name of a trust, they could qualify for resthome subsidies in the event that they were required to go into rest home care. This certainly worked for a number of years. Things have changed, however, and this article looks at a recent case that challenged that proposition.”

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Issue 15 – Spring 2012

“If you are both trustee and beneficiary of a family trust, it’s important for you to know when you are allowed to act selfishly (for your own benefit) and when you must act selflessly (for the benefit of others)” Read More

Issue 14 – Autumn 2012

“One of the most important duties of a trustee is to act totally in the interests of the trust beneficiaries. Divided loyalties or a conflict of interest can be enough for a trustee to be removed.”

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Issue 13 – Spring 2011

With the abolition of gift duty from 1 October 2011 the first thought for most people who have a family trust would be “Let’s give it all away”.

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Issue 12- Autumn 2011

The government has announced it will abolish gift duty from 1 October 2011 citing the cost of gift duty compliance.

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Issue 11 – Spring 2010

The Wills Act 2007, which came into force on 1 November 2007, has made some significant changes to how Wills are corrected in New Zealand.

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Issue 10 – Autumn 2010

As a general rule the 50/50 split provisions of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 do not apply to assets held in a family trust. This creates real problems when a couple separate; one or both may be denied access to trust assets.

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E-Flash May 2010

In the lead-up to the 2010 Budget delivered on 20 May, some commentators believed that trusts, and the way that trusts operate, may be targeted.

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Inheritance wars – lessons for avoiding family fights over money

Greg features in an article in the New Zealand Listener, September 23-29, 2017, on the subject of “testamentary freedom”; that is, the right to cut children out of a will. Read more

A matter of trust – managing your financial affairs

Greg features in an article in the New Zealand Women’s Weekly, September 18, 2017, about the importance of having an up-to date will. Read more

Wills Act 2007 – Changes and Current Issues

The new Wills Act 2007 (the “Act”) came into force on 1 November 2007. It replaced the old 1837 Wills Act which was a United Kingdom statute and which had been amended numerous times between 1852 and 2005. Two of the most significant changes are: Read more

Trusts and Relationship Property in New Zealand

An examination of the interaction between trusts and relationship property in New Zealand looking at key legislative provisions, sham and alter ego arguments, bundles of rights and the possible effects of the ongoing review of the law of trusts by the New Zealand Law Commission. Read more

Property (Relationships) Act 1976 Election Process

Section 61 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the “PRA”) allows the surviving partner or spouse to choose either option A or option B. Option A is to elect to make an application under the PRA for a division of relationship property. Option B is as follows: Read more …

Gifts to Charity – Some Pitfalls

The law relating to charities has a long and unique history. Despite legislative changes the Courts have continued to refer back to the eclectic list in the preamble to the Charitable Uses Act 1601 for the definition of the term “charity”. Read more …

Fineprint Special September 2011

Abolition of gift duty means a re-think of the role of a trust, how a trust is used and what implications there may be for you, your family and also your trust. Read more

Abstract from Greg Kelly’s Master’s Thesis

In this thesis I review New Zealand’s present inheritance laws which are characterised by: Read more



Dobbie’s Probate and Administration Practice

Greg and Chris (and two other authors) have written the 6th edition of Dobbie’s Probate and Administration Practice, which is the leading text of probate and estate administration in New Zealand. It was published in December 2014.

Garrow and Kelly’s Law of Trusts and Trustees

Greg and Chris are the authors of Garrow and Kelly’s Law of Trusts and Trustees. The 7th edition was published in 2013 and is the leading text on trust law in New Zealand. It is the required reading for the Property Law and Commercial Equity course at AUT Law School.

Mental Capacity Law in New Zealand

Greg and Kimberly are contributing authors to Reuvekamp, I & Dawson, J (Eds) Mental Capacity Law in New Zealand (Thomson Reuters, Wellington, 2019)