The American entertainer Britney Spears’ conservatorship has recently been in the headlines. She is asking American courts to reconsider the conservatorship which has been in place for some years.
The laws about the administration of estates are being reviewed by the Law Commission. Much of what has been proposed so far is uncontroversial but there are some recommendations that may prove unpopular, although they are likely to be refined during the Parliamentary process.
The rules around the use of KiwiSaver have evolved over recent years as banks and other financial institutions have developed their understanding of the KiwiSaver regime.
Still fit for purpose for farm ownership and succession?
Trusts have long been the preferred vehicle for farm ownership. Historically, holding a property through a trust meant that ownership did not change on the death of the farmer and, therefore, any death duties could be avoided during the generational change.
The Trusts Act 2019 came into force on 30 January 2021. One major topic of discussion arising from the new Act has been the provisions governing disclosure of trust information to beneficiaries.
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.
Extension of Māori Land Court jurisdiction. A significant change to the succession laws relating to Māori land came into force on 6 February 2021 (Waitangi Day).
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.
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.
Decision-making can be affected by bias. In a recent case , trustees’ decision-making came under scrutiny from the High Court.