vickiammundsen has written 487 posts for Matters of Trust

Thank you, no thank you

Re W relates to the scenario of which movies are made where a relative leaves considerable wealth to a single individual. In this case the prior beneficiary of the deceased’s wealth was to be his sister, W’s mother. However, after the deceased became estranged from his sister, the deceased altered his will so as to … Continue reading

Mirror, mirror on the wall

In New Zealand, mutual wills can arise: (a) by recognition of an institutional constructive trust pursuant to theequitable doctrine of mutual wills, or(b) in relation to wills signed on or after 1 November 2007 through a claim by the intended beneficiary on a promise in relation to mutual wills as provided for in s 30 … Continue reading

Are two heads better?

Advisory trustees can provide useful assistance to trustees. However, where an advisory trustee is a professional, this advice can be expected to come at a price. Oldfield v Oldfield explores the balancing of cost and utility regarding the proposed appointment of an advisory trustee. The appointment of an advisory trustee and the utility of this … Continue reading

Invalid Musings

Violet Filomena Cox (Violet) made a number of wills, the last of which was a hand anotated copy of Violet’s last will and an unsigned draft. The administators of Violet’s estate sought directions under s 66 of the Trustee Act 1956 as to how the estate should be distributed and for a declaration under s … Continue reading

Clearing the decks

Walker v Walker is one of many cases that finds itself before the courts requiring assistance with the appointment, retirement or removal of trustees as a result of trustee incapacity. However, one aspect of the case that warrants further interest is the “possibility that former trustees have technically remained trustees because they were not properly … Continue reading


The H J Bourke Family Trust (the Trust) vested in May 2019. The question for the Court was whether the following clause include the grandchildren with the children on a final distribution. “AFTER the expiration of the settlement period to stand possessed of the trust fund (including the said accumulations if any) being so much … Continue reading

The cost of being wrong

The case of Unkovich v Clapham provides an excellent example of the difficult decisions trustees must make when seeking to uphold decisions made by them in the face of opposition.  It is useful to first consider the principles that apply to trustee decision making, which are set out at [47] and [48] as follows: [47] … Continue reading

Back to Benjamin

Triple A Trustees Limited relates to a practical aspect of trusteeship, which is, the transfer of assets from one trustee to another without subsequent liability arising from doing so. The Triple A Trust (the Trust) is a foreign trust with a New Zealand resident trustee. Parties associated with the Trust were subject to United Kingdom … Continue reading

Capacity to pay

The Court of Appeal decision in Biggs v Biggs highlights the cost of litigation, whether on the side of the angels or otherwise. In this case the wife has incurred costs to date in excess of $1 million, which her evidence is, that she cannot pay. The husband’s costs are half that of the wife. … Continue reading

Put a ring on it

Beyoncé instructs in Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) the importance of not relying on assumptions or expectations.  The same might be said in Sutherland v Lane, the background of which is set out at [1] of the judgment as follows: “Michelle Sutherland had a close relationship with her uncle by marriage, the late … Continue reading