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Trusts for Property Lawyers - Webinar Package

NZ $255.00
Andrew Watkins Simon Weil
Andrew Watkins
Duncan Cotterill
Simon Weil
Morrison Kent

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Webinar Package includes:

Archive Presentation  l  Booklet  l  PowerPoint Presentation


Webinar Package Fee (incl GST)
$205 - NZLS members and Associate members
$255 - Non-members

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


Webinar Archive Presentation

Presentation time: 120 minutes

New Zealanders’ love affair with trusts continues unabated, whether for estate planning, tax planning or inheritance planning, or to protect against claims from creditors including on relationship breakdown. In this current epoch of financial instability and changing social attitudes, there seems to be an undercurrent of expectation and entitlement that is questioning some of the underpinning tenets of what, traditionally, were sacrosanct principles of trust law. Consequently, property lawyers are faced, like never before, with the challenge of implementing trust structures in an environment where legislative provisions can sometimes allow chinks to thwart the intentions of the client.

This seminar will help property lawyers understand crucial issues in order to minimise the risk of the trusts they establish being vulnerable, and to stand a better chance of achieving what is originally intended, by up-skilling on fundamental aspects of trusts law.

You will gain
  • a better understanding of problem areas to be addressed and some options for dealing with them more efficiently
  • knowledge of core aspects of trust work and how they are affected by the PRA and FPA
  • awareness of the need to know when you are out of your depth and it is time to refer your client to a specialist
  • an understanding of the interplay between the accountant, lawyer and client to achieve best outcomes
  • toolbox tips and practical checklists – questions to ask your clients

The seminar will be divided into three sections. The first will cover the setting up of a trust and what is required in the documentation, with topics covering when a trust is needed or not needed, tax, relationship property, succession planning and  credit protection.

The second section will discuss legislative limitations of trusts and the pitfalls and attacks that can be made against them. Topics will cover:
  • a general list of key ways to attack trusts
  • key provisions of the PRA and FPA
  • constructive trusts
  • the Trustee Act
  • beneficiaries rights
  • trustee conflict issues, and  
  • an amalgam of commercial issues including the Social Security Act and the Insolvency Act... and more.

The third section will make use of a factual scenario to illustrate points raised in the first two sections.

Please contact us if you use a dial up internet connection.



Authors: Andrew Watkins, Simon Weil
Published: 21 November, 2012
Pages: 107



Over the last 15 years the number of inter vivos trusts set up in New Zealand has significantly increased. Tax returns were filed for 245,800 trusts as at 31 March 2009, an increase of over 100,000 since 2001. As many trusts don't produce income and thus don't file returns it is likely that there are currently over 400,000 trusts  in New Zealand or about one trust for every ten New Zealanders.

Trusts can come under fire from a number of different groups: creditors, unhappy children, government agencies and the like but, by far the biggest and most vocal group is the disaffected partner or spouse following the separation from, or the death of, their partner.

Parliament responded in 2001 by passing amendments to the Property (Relationships) Act which were meant to capture more property for relationship property division and to compensate partners whose rights were defeated by dispositions of relationship property to a trust.

These provisions have generally been unsuccessful in ensuring that each party retains half of all assets created during their relationship. Much often depends on whether one or other of the parties had the foresight to set up a family trust and whether that trust will withstand the intense scrutiny it will be subjected to.

There is constant tension between relationship-property lawyers on the one hand who are endeavouring to ensure that their client receives half of all assets created during the relationship and trust lawyers on the other, who insist on the sanctity of the trust and settled core trust law principles.

Thrown into the middle of that mix is the property lawyer who will often receive instructions from one or both parties to prepare a family trust when the times are good and separation is the last thing on their minds. There is an expectation from the parties that the trust will be a castle or fortress which will protect both of them from every eventuality- a panacea from difficult creditors, government agencies, difficult children and former spouses or partners. Clients are often vague with their instructions and the unfortunate property lawyer is caught in the unenviable situation of having to try and achieve a good outcome for all parties at reasonable cost - a very difficult but not impossible task.

In this paper:
  • Simon provides a brief history of trust usage both before and after the removal of death duties in 1992 and he examines the traditional reasons for setting up trusts.
  • Andrew provides a brief overview of the main provisions of the Property (Relationships) Act as you need to be familiar with these in order to recognise and minimise or eradicate future potential claims
  • Simon discusses trust structures and asset planning including:
- The gathering of relevant information.
- Working with co-advisors (accountants, specialists etc)
- Provision of relevant checklists
- Analysing/designing structures for trusts – which type of trust is most appropriate and when? - Are other options better such as a company or a section 21 agreement?
  • Simon considers the Trust Deed.
  • Andrew considers what tools are available to successfully challenge trusts in the relationship property context, the creditor context and against trustees behaviour generally under general trust law. He summarises some recent developments in case law and provides a checklist of potential claims.
  • Simon discusses trust administration and looks at best practice.
  • Andrew looks at the future of trusts in the context of law reform.

We hope that by the end of this booklet you will have gained:
  • A clearer understanding of the various ways in which trusts can be challenged.
  • Some options for minimising the chances of those challenges being successful.
  • An appreciation of the interplay that is necessary between accountant, client and lawyer in order to achieve the best outcome for your client.
  • Some practical tips and checklists to assist you in your practice.


PowerPoint Presentation

These are the slides included in the webinar presentation.
Number of Slides: 157

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