Can your ex-spouse claim your property when you die?

Agreeing on a division of relationship property after you and your spouse separate can be fraught. Usually, emotions are highly charged.

Estates and guarantees

Guarantees entered into by a person during their lifetime can create some difficult legal issues for their executor after they die.

Making a bequest to a charity

For many charities, gifts in wills (bequests) are a significant source of funding.
Sometimes, however, charitable bequests cannot take effect when wills are not carefully drafted. This article looks at ways your wishes for a charitable bequest have the best prospect of being fulfilled.

Polyamorous relationships

In a split decision, the Supreme Court recently confirmed that polyamorous relationships can be divided into two or more qualifying relationships, to which the provisions of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (PRA) can apply.

Refusing an inheritance

This was the question faced by the executor/trustee of the estates ofMargaret and Ian Glue. Margaret died in 2005, leaving a life interest in her estate to Ian, and her remaining estate to her two sons. Ian died in 2009, also leaving his estate equally to his two sons, David and JohnJohn received his inheritance. David, however, could not be found despite exhaustive efforts even though it was believed he was alive. The executor/trustee had held David’s inheritance for years and wanted to be free of his obligations. We follow the HighCourt’s decision to close this case.

Decision in ‘Alphabet case’ could change succession landscape

In June 2023, the Supreme Court heard the ‘Alphabet case.’ Mr Z severely abused his wife and children physically, psychologically and sexually. He died in 2016 leaving a small estate. He had, however, earlier settled a trust to prevent his children “chasing” his assets. The children, despite the bulk of their father’s assets being held in a trust, believed he owed them a fiduciary duty because of the abuse they had suffered.
We await the Supreme Court’s decision.

Tikanga in the law of Aotearoa New Zealand

Late last year the Supreme Court quashed Peter Ellis’ multiple 1993 convictions of sexual offending against children who had attended the Christchurch crèche where he was a teacher. His 1994 and 1999 appeals to the Court of Appeal had been unsuccessful. In July 2019, the Supreme Court granted leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decisions giving an extension of time to do so.
However, Mr Ellis died in September 2019 before the Supreme Court heard his case. Usually, an appeal dies with an appellant.

Who are the ‘children of the settlors’?

In the recent case of Re Merona Trustees Ltd, the High Court was asked to determine who the beneficiaries of a trust were as it was not clear who was intended by the phrase the ‘children of the settlors’ that was in the trust deed.


Who really wants to be a trustee?

Are you a trustee of a family trust, or considering becoming one? If so, you need to be familiar with the obligations you are taking on when agreeing to act as a trustee. You should also have a clear understanding of the risks that you are exposed to when you agree to act as a trustee.

When Lotto winners fall out

Winning a Lotto prize is always a reason to celebrate; dreams can be realised and life can be more comfortable. Banking a lump sum can, however, give headaches to families as they not only grapple with newfound wealth, but also how it could be distributed amongst family members.