Trustees' Expenses

Should be reimbursed, but no need for extravagance

When trustees incur expenses, they are not expected to be out of pocket in carrying out their responsibilities. Trustees are entitled to use trust money or to get a refund from the trust fund if they incur expenses in carrying out their duties. Trustees' expenses, however, must be fair and reasonable. A recent case shows why it is also important to be sure that you can trust your trustee not to take advantage of the right to claim expenses. Read more…

Succession and Trust Law Changes

Extension of Maori Land Court jurisdiction

A significant change to the succession laws relating to Maori land[1] came into force on 6 February 2021 (Waitangi Day).

Te Puni Kokiri states that the amendments to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 are intended to better support whanau to succeed to their land by: Read more…

The Trusts Act 2019 comes into effect on 30 January 2021. For the first time in 60 years, there will be major changes to existing trust law. The aim of this legislation is to create more transparency around trustee decisions, and to allow trusts to be run with more efficiency and clarity for all parties. Read more…

Trustees' decisions

Decision-making can be affected by bias

In a recent case[1], trustees' decision-making came under scrutiny from the High Court.

Lara Unkovich was a young teenager when her grandfather died in 2016, leaving her a share of his estate. Her share was worth around $65,000. Under his will Lara would not receive the funds until she was 21 years old. The trustees, however, had the power to make payments towards her 'maintenance, education, advancement or benefit.' The trustees were her aunt Margaret and a lawyer.  Read more…

Relationship property claims

Sign a contracting out agreement

When entering a second or subsequent relationship, it is common to want to keep assets safe from relationship property claims. An effective way to do this can be by transferring assets to a trust. Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure you do this within the law.  Read more…

Best to sign again after lockdown to avoid later complications

During the COVID lockdown, special rules applied to the signing of some legal documents. Obviously it was, and is, not possible to have your signature witnessed by someone outside your bubble in Levels 3 and 4. So the law allowed signing over audio-visual link (AVL) and other similar arrangements. While these documents will remain valid in the future, it may be wise to have wills and enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) signed out of lockdown to avoid any time-consuming queries later on.  Read more…

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