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.

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.

Wearing two hats in a family protection claim

In a recent case, the High Court found that a will administrator’s default in complying with a court order was so flagrant, it justified issuing an order for arrest of the administrator. The will administrator was wearing two hats – one hat as a will administrator and the second hat as a beneficiary.

Trusts Act 2019 also affects executors and administrators of wills

Not everyone is aware that the some of the provisions in this legislation also apply to wills and the administration of estates by executors. We outline executors’ mandatory and default duties as well as briefly discussing some interpretations of the latter.

caring for kiwis

Caring for Kiwis who cannot make decisions for themselves

Britney Spears’ conservatorship has now been formally ended. Since then, she has made a number of specific allegations against her conservators. We discuss how these issues would be dealt with in a New Zealand context.


Britney Spears’ conservatorship

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.