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Testamentary Promises Act - claims

Testamentary Promises Act - claims
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The stated aim of the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 is to "... make better provision for the enforcement of promises to make testamentary provision in return for services rendered".  

This seminar will be delivered in two parts; the first part will cover the key elements of a Testamentary Promise claim, the breadth of eligible claims and reflect on recent developments from the courts. It will include consideration of where such claims sit in relation to other "estate" claims and offer suggestions as to the advice that might be given to the client considering such a claim and the client who might wish to protect against such claims. 

The second part will consider a new cause of action in the family law and estate planning context. On two occasions recently, the High Court declined to strike out claims which contended that parents owe fiduciary duties to their adult child. The claims were made in the context of a challenge to transfers of property to family trusts whose purpose – it was argued – was to defeat any future Family Protection Act claim. If such equitable duties exist, then this could have important implications for "family" property rights and asset planning. This seminar will explore the jurisprudential basis of these claims, the policy arguments involved, whether testamentary freedom is a right that can and should be enjoyed and what the relief may look like in such actions that challenge dispositions made during a will-maker’s life.

This seminar will include:

  • A discussion of the key elements of the cause of action and how the courts are currently approaching claims
  • Claims by family members in relation to services supplied
  • A discussion of where TPA claims sit in relation to other “estate” claims ie, under the FPA and PRA
  • Guidance on the possible impact of the Wills Act (s 14) and the Court’s power to validate non-wills
  • Practical tips on the evidence needed to support a testamentary promises claim
  • An analysis of the nature of fiduciary relationships in the family context – historically and looking forward
  • Strategies for children contemplating Family Protection Act litigation; those that have been thwarted by parent denuding their property by inter vivos transfers to family trusts
  • How to best inform family planners of some of the potential risks and factors to consider when advising parents on the creation of discretionary family trusts particularly where this is intended to defeat the interests of living children.

Learning objectives

By attending this seminar you will gain:

  • Greater knowledge on testamentary promises claims and strategies for Family Protection Act litigation.
  • Practical tips on how to apply this knowledge when advising your clients.
  • An understanding of the relevance of fiduciary relationships in the family context.

Who should attend

General practitioners, civil litigators, family law practitioners, trusts & estates lawyers.


A short paper, in PDF format, together with a copy of the powerpoint presentation will be emailed out prior to the seminar.


  • 4.00pm - 6.00pm (tea and coffee available on arrival)

Fee (incl GST)

In Short

  • $125 - NZLS members and Associate members
  • $175 - Non-members
  • Live web stream group pricing available! Click here

Do you want to register more than one person for this course? Click here
Download registration form

Auckland 22 October
Live Web Stream 22 October


Vicki WEB EDIT Vicki Ammundsen
Director, Vicki Ammundsen Trust Law, Auckland

Vicki is the director at Vicki Ammundsen Trust Law Limited, which she established in 2015, and the author of a number of books on trusts and trustees including Taxation of Trusts, ed 3, Trustee Liability and the Trustee’s Handbook, ed 4 (all CCH New Zealand Limited). She has presented at conferences in New Zealand and internationally on wills and estates, trusts and the law of equity. Vicki also produces the blog Matters of Trust as a resource to share up to date trust law knowledge.

Vicki uses her day to day experience with trusts and estates and her deep knowledge of New Zealand and international case developments to underpin her practical, solutions-focussed approach to dealing with trust and family law issues. She firmly believes that trusts have an important role to play in inter-generational asset management, but that this is risked by a lack of understanding of effective or appropriate trust management that too often leads to misunderstanding or abuse.
Andrew Steele WEB EDIT Andrew Steele
Partner, Martelli McKegg, Auckland

Andrew has 30 years’ experience in litigation in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Previously a partner at Chamberlains, Andrew became a partner with Martelli McKegg Lawyers in 2006. He is Chair of the ADLS Civil Litigation Committee and a member of the ADLS Trust Law Committee. Andrew has presented seminars for the NZLS CLE, ADLS, STEP and CCH in a variety of property, trust and estate related topics. He is the lecturer and examiner of the estate litigation component for the STEP diploma.

Cancellation and refund policy

If written notice of cancellation of a registration arrives before the day of the seminar we will refund the registration fee, less an administration fee of $40. If you are unable to attend, you may send a substitute - to correctly assign CPD credit, CLE must be notified in advance. NZLS CLE Ltd reserves the right to cancel or reschedule seminars if necessary.

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PO Box 5041
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New Zealand