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Trusts & Relationship Breakdowns - Online CPD

NZ $175.00
Vanessa BrutonQC Issac Hikaka
Vanessa Bruton QC
TEP, O’Connell Chambers
Isaac Hikaka
Partner, Lee Salmon Long

Package includes:

Online CPD Module  l  Electronic booklet  l  PowerPoint Presentation

Package Fee (incl GST)

  • $125 - NZLS members and Associate members
  • $175 - Non-members

Note: Access to the online files is via your "My CPD" page. If you would like to purchase multiple packages, please contact us here.

Online CPD Module

Presentation time: 120 minutes

Trusts are prolific in New Zealand and relationship breakdowns are not uncommon. When the two collide, dealing with the fallout is challenging for both the party seeking provisions from the trust assets, and the party seeking to protect these assets. This seminar will consider some of the key developments and cases in this area and reflect on the practical implications to be mindful of when you are advising your clients.

This seminar will include:

  • A review of the latest cases dealing with trusts in relationship breakdowns
  • Considering the risks to trusts from s 182, ss 44 and 44C and constructive trust claims
  • Considering more novel attacks on trusts
  • A critical examination of common issues with trust deeds
  • Advice on the proper role of trustees in a relationship breakdown.
Please contact us if you use a dial up internet connection.

Learning objectives

By completing this module you will be:

  • Up to date with the latest relevant case law.
  • Able to apply an analytical approach to different personal and trust ownership structures.
  • Aware of the potential avenues to challenge trusts.
  • Better able to advise clients on trusts as well as the arrangements towards an effective trust.
  • Able to give sound advice to trustees caught in a relationship breakdown.

Electronic paper 

Authors: Vanessa Bruton QC, Isaac Hikaka
Published: 3 December 2020
Pages: 19


It is now over seven years since the authors first presented papers for the NZLS on the interaction between trusts and relationship breakdowns. Despite that time, and the numerous papers presented by the authors on that topic, the subject remains as relevant today as it did in 2013. The use of trusts as a means of holding assets remains strong, relationship breakdowns remain as constant as death and taxes and the desire for one spouse to gain access to the trust property, and the other to deny them that access, continues unabated. The continued relevance of papers on the subject, though, lies in the protean nature of the arguments for access to trust property, and the responses of the Courts to those challenges. This in turn prompts changes in trust drafting and practice, which leads to different routes to trust property being tried and then further Court decisions – a cycle that seems likely to continue until the use of trusts as a method of asset ownership is abandoned. In other words, we see every likelihood that in seven more years there will still be a need for seminars on the topic.

This paper proceeds in six parts. First, some comments on typical features of a New Zealand discretionary trust are made. Then, the five most common ways in which spouses seek to access trust property1 are discussed, with a special focus on the latest judicial  decisions and innovative ways some of the sections are being used. Some comments are also made about the appropriate role trustees should take when there is a breakdown in a relationship.

1 Sections 182 Family Proceedings Act 1980, ss 44 and 44C Property (Relationships) Act 1976, claims that property is held on constructive trust, claims that no trust exists and attempts to remove trustees.

PowerPoint Presentation

These are the slides included in the presentation.

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