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Indmenity, Removal of trustees, Settlor; settlors, Trustee retirement, Trustees, Trusts

Hostility and dysfunction

Family trusts can raise complex considerations and perhaps none moreso than those relating to the changing of the guard as the intergenerational control aspect of family trusts is brought to bear. A contemporary consideration of these matters has been played out on the Triezenberg v Mason chronicles. The most recent iteration is the unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal is summed up at [81] as follows:

Trusts are not about everyone getting a turn, or even having a voice. This can be hard, especially when the lesson is being learned by the settlor, who doubtless imagined a very different paradigm. However, fundamental to the decision to settle a trust, is the loss of control of the settled assets. If control is retained, there is likely no trust. It really is that simple.

Editor’s note: the position in which Mr Mason finds himself is heart-breaking. The Triezenberg v Mason exemplify the reality of disputes relating to family trusts where regardless of the strident positions taken there are commonly no winners especially once costs are factored in.


  • Mason v Triezenberg [2022] NZCA 138
  • Triezenberg v Mason [2019] NZHC 2125 (Judgment (No 3) [As to the reasonableness of quantum costs]
  • Triezenberg v Mason [2019] NZHC 301 (Judgment (No 4) [As to the quantification of “Excluded Costs”]
  • Mason v Dodd [2020] 2916


One thought on “Hostility and dysfunction

  1. What has not been reported in your script is the fundamental issue in the case. Mr and Mrs Mason settled their assets into the Trusts many years ago. The Trusts worked well under their control until Mrs Mason developed dementure and required full time care. Mr Mason refused to acknowledge her condition and refused to use trust assets to care for his wife. As trustees we were forced into the position of Court action to remove Mr Mason as a trustee in order to have the funds available to care for a primary beneficiary. There are no winners in such action. Only the legal teams whose fees consumed a considerable amount of the trust assets.

    Posted by Paul Dodd | May 4, 2022, 7:13 am

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