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Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017

Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017

With the new Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 coming into force on 1 September now is the perfect time to review your business contracts.

By Tom Swindells - 18 Sep 2017

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Discretionary beneficiaries have rights too!

Discretionary beneficiaries have rights too!

While the 'parent settlors' of a family trust are alive and have their mental capacity, the issue of monitoring what the trust is doing is not an issue. But once the parents die or lose capacity and the administration of the trust transfers to the 'professional trustees', it often becomes the task of the children to ensure that the trustees act reasonably, competently and are held to account for their decisions. But how?

By Andrew Steele - 8 Sep 2017

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What do you mean I'm not the trustee of mum and dad's trust?

What do you mean I'm not the trustee of mum and dad's trust?

There are several hundred thousand family trusts in New Zealand. These often hold the financial 'nest egg' of aging settlors concerned ultimately to protect their assets during their lifetime and ultimately to benefit their children. While the 'parent settlors' are fit and healthy, the terms of trust usually ensure the trust assets are under their supervision and are often the trustees. The 'independent trustee', where present, is often relegated to a relatively benign role of simply reviewing and approving their co-trustees preferred course of action with regards to investment and distributions. From the settlor's children's perspective that's fine - after all - they often don't understand the distinction between assets that have been transferred into a trust and the parent's personal property.

By Andrew Steele and Timothy Orr - 30 Aug 2017

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Do you have the authority to execute a mortgage?

Do you have the authority to execute a mortgage?

It is not uncommon for credit application forms to include a clause that charges in favour of the creditor all property held by the debtor. This is typically accompanied with a clause whereby the debtor appoints the creditor as its attorney for the purposes of executing a mortgage over the charged property (if the debtor does not do so).

By Tony Johnson Kay Keam and Alden Ho - 25 Aug 2017

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Why loans and gifts need to be documented

Why loans and gifts need to be documented

The Court of Appeal in Chang v Lee [2017] NZCA 308 addressed the situation where a generous uncle funded 50% of the purchase price for his niece to buy a property. She took title in her own name, then denied the uncle's right to repayment saying the 'advance' was a gift. No loan agreement had been entered into between them. The Court of Appeal held that where a person makes a payment to another to buy a property, there is a presumption against a gift. Instead the property is held on trust for the funder in the share of the sum they contributed.

By Andrew Steele - 22 Aug 2017

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What is spousal maintenance and could you be entitled to it?

What is spousal maintenance and could you be entitled to it?

This week is Money Week - a great time to take stock of your financial position. Did you know that if you've separated from your partner and they're living a life of luxury while you're in struggle street, you could be eligible for spousal maintenance?

By Fiona McGeorge - 18 Aug 2017

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Unreasonable costs won't wash

Unreasonable costs won't wash

A recent High Court decision has proved that unreasonable costs by professionals won't wash with the Courts.

By Tony Johnson - 28 Jul 2017

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Freeze those assets

Freeze those assets

Insolvency law is all about recovering assets and redistributing their value to creditors in an order pre-determined by the laws of equity, secured creditor rights and priority rights of unsecured creditors. It is all very well getting a judgment against a creditor, but the real question is, does that judgment result in the return to the company of an asset or money equivalent i.e. it's all about the money.

By Tony Johnson - 21 Jul 2017

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Personal bankruptcy: is it possible to not lose everything?

Personal bankruptcy: is it possible to not lose everything?

Generally, upon bankruptcy, everything you own vests in the Official Assignee. The recent High Court decision in Hargraves re-affirmed however that there are important exceptions.

By Tony Johnson - 14 Jul 2017

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Liquidators and Ponzi Schemes

Liquidators and Ponzi Schemes

A recent Court decision has raised further warnings to investors in Ponzi schemes. The advice is clear: if you invest in a Ponzi scheme, there is every likelihood you will lose your money.

By Tony Johnson - 7 Jul 2017

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