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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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Are you protected? Changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) go live on 16 March 2017

Are you protected? Changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) go live on 16 March 2017

Significant changes coming into force on 16 March affecting new Enduring Powers of Attorney

By Hess Chung - 13 Mar 2017

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Retirement villages not exempt from leaky building crisis

Retirement villages not exempt from leaky building crisis

Those living in (or considering) a retirement village may have been disturbed by a recent NZ Herald article on the subject. It highlighted a series of leaky buildings that have been discovered in otherwise well-regarded retirement villages across the country.

By Hess Chung - 3 Feb 2017

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Harmful digital communications - are you prepared?

Harmful digital communications - are you prepared?

Do you run a website or app on which people can send messages or post information? Could the messages / information cause harm to another? The new civil complaints regime under the Harmful Digital Communications Act comes into force on 21 November 2016 and you need to be prepared.

By Michael Finucane - 11 Nov 2016

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How to improve your chances of recovering your debt

How to improve your chances of recovering your debt

If you're a builder, you have a number of options open to you if you don't get paid. In this blog, Geoff Hardy gives some practical advice on how you can help protect yourself and your business.

By Geoff Hardy - 8 Nov 2016

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Recent court decision has major implications for family trusts

Recent court decision has major implications for family trusts

The Supreme Court, our highest court, just released an important judgment regarding family trusts.

By Andrew Steele - 13 Apr 2016

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Public persona, private life

Public persona, private life

The recent publication by a magazine of a photo featuring Dan and Honor Carter's 2-year old child has reignited debate over what media outlets should or shouldn't be allowed to publish.

By - 21 Jul 2015

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Lack of detailed invoices proves costly for building contractors

Lack of detailed invoices proves costly for building contractors

If you're a building contractor who issues simplified invoices, you may need to think again. A recent high court case emphasised the need for contractors to get invoices right the first time if they intend to rely on summary procedures to maximise their cash flow.

By Andrew Steele - 30 Jun 2015

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Clayton v Clayton and Trusts

Clayton v Clayton and Trusts

The headlines relating to the Clayton v Clayton case, the judgment for which the Court of Appeal released in early March 2015, read "Ruling Redraws the Landscape" and "Divorce Case Throws Doubt on Trusts' Status". Among other things, the Court held that Mr Clayton's right to remove discretionary beneficiaries, and therefore leave himself as the sole person entitled to receive income and capital from the trust, could be property and therefore relationship property. It also held that the value of that relationship property was the net value of the trust's assets.

By Lewis Grant - 9 Mar 2015

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