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Beneficiary rights

This category contains 38 posts

Erceg Appeal dismissed – exceptional circumstances not to disclose

What information can a discretionary beneficiary of a trust request from the trustees? If the beneficiary has been bankrupted, does that mean they no longer have personal rights to request information? The Supreme Court has now expressed its view on these issues and has upheld the earlier Court of Appeal decision. However, the Supreme Court’s judgment … Continue reading

A sorry tale …

As noted in the judgment McLaren v McLaren at [1]  this case relates to “… a sorry tale of what can occur when a family adopts an inappropriate form of trust deed without adequate advice or sufficient understanding of the legal effect of its terms. In this case, a son who was given a power … Continue reading

War of the roses

War of the Roses is a 1989 American film based on the 1981 novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler. The film, which  co-stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito chronicles the demise of a marriage  against the backdrop of a beautiful home that the couple, literally fight to the death over.  Trust disputes can be … Continue reading

Family at war – but which war?

On 17 July 2016 the Sunday Star Times reported about a family at war over a mansion with an opening quote that read “Lawyers say the judiciary are increasingly overturning wills in family disputes.” The dispute ended up in the High Court, firstly regarding an application for the removal of the trustees and secondly a … Continue reading

Disclosure creep

Trusts can be many things.  Well run trusts can provide long-term inter-generational asset protection.   When the pie does not get split on the death of each generation, there can be greater potential for  wealth generation.  Trusts are also generally very private.  Trust ownership is not noted on land titles or in the Companies Office. But will this … Continue reading

Boys will be boys

When embarking on asset and estate planning, an important but often overlooked enquiry is as to how the next generation will manage the assets (and what those assets might be) and who sensibly should be in charge.  Consider the case of Frickleton v Frickleton. In this case one of four sons ends up as the sole executor … Continue reading

A step back for beneficiaries or a nil all draw?

The Court of Appeal decision in Erceg v Erceg has provided the Court of Appeal’s view of the correct approach to the disclosure of trust information to beneficiaries.  Prior to this Court of Appeal decision in Erceg v Erceg it was settled law in  New Zealand that beneficiaries had a rebuttable right to trust information pursuant to the … Continue reading

Good old fashioned law

Family trusts can generally run for up to 80 years.  That puts quite an onus on the settlor to get it right.  It also means that where beneficiaries are defined by reference to children and grandchildren there can be a significant number of  beneficiaries over time. Jones & Ors as Trustees v Collings & Ors there … Continue reading

Costly failure to disclose trust information to minor beneficiary’s guardian

Beneficiaries of a trust – including a testamentary trust are entitled to information relating to the trust. In the Goodman v Campbell a minor beneficiary’s mother sought appointment as a litigation guardian following an executor’s refusal to provide information about the estate of which her minor son was the sole beneficiary.  The trustee of the … Continue reading

3 roads to ruin

Professor Frances Moran has been attributed with lecturing her mainly male equity students at King’s Inns that “There are three roads to ruin in life, wine, women and becoming a trustee.  The first two are at least enjoyable.” Not wishing to enter into a debate of the relative strengths of either sex to mislead and … Continue reading