Trusts

New trusts legislation now in force

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

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.

Succession and trust law changes

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).

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Legal documents signed during lockdown

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.

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Relationship property claims

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.

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Trustees’ decisions

Decision-making can be affected by bias. In a recent case , trustees’ decision-making came under scrutiny from the High Court.

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Do trusts pay trustees’ litigation costs?

We assume this will be the case, but as a trustee or executor, you aren’t always entitled to be reimbursed for your litigation costs. A recent case has highlighted the personal liability faced by trustees and executors. If you’re a trustee or executor, here’s what you need to know.

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No enduring power of attorney

If you are unable to make decisions for yourself at any stage (either temporarily or longer term) it is important there is someone in place to act on your behalf.

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Accessing the assets of a trust

When a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship breaks down, the couple will usually divide their property according to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the PRA). However, these two people often hold property in a trust rather than personally.

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Validating imperfect wills

For wills to be valid they must comply with a number of legal formalities; they must be in writing and there must be two witnesses who must attest to the will-maker signing the will in their presence.