Wills, trusts & asset planning
Protecting your assets
We advise on all aspects of trusts, wills and estates whether they be private, corporate or charitable.

Careful attention needs to be paid to managing your assets both for yourselves and for succeeding generations. Trusts play a key role in protecting family assets from business, relationship property and are also key in successful business structures.  In addition to this we advise and act on all claims against trusts.

Our expertise and 'best practice' trust administration service ensures the trust is being administered correctly. For your peace of mind, talk to us about asset protection, planning, succession planning, and asset structuring.


Recent Projects

  • Acting in a number of applications under the Wills Act 2007 to validate draft wills.
  • Assisted clients to complete Estate Planning arrangements, wills, enduring powers of attorney and trust arrangements



COVID-19 Trusts and Charities: What you should know

In the context of a global pandemic affecting lives and livelihoods the world over, the focus of most of us has been on those legal matters which are front and center in our lives. What has perhaps gone under the radar is the impact COVID-19 may have for our trusts and charities, many of whom hold investments that are likely to be significantly affected by the ensuing economic fallout.

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New Trust Act and the challenges ahead

The Trust Act 2019 comes into effect on 30 January 2021. This involves reasonably significant changes that will generally apply to all trusts.

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The powers that can be

Enduring powers of attorney (EPA) are excellent things! So, what exactly are they? They provide authority to someone you absolutely trust to carry out certain functions for you: to pay the monthly bills, to buy or sell property, or to make investment decisions for example.

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A trust transformation

It is often said that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of trusts per capita – the government estimates there are somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 trusts operating in New Zealand. 2019 brings a long-anticipated change to the law of trusts in the form of the Trusts Act 2019.

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Where there’s a Will, there’s a way

Travel often brings about people rushing to either create or amend their Will before a planned trip. Kiwis are more likely to think about Wills when a major event occurs, such as marriage (or its failure), childbirth, buying a home, or international travel. The reality is, the time to plan your estate and make a Will is now because when you really need it, it will be too late.

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Arbitration of trust disputes: a new frontier

The Arbitration Act 1996 (Act) was enacted to facilitate the arbitration of commercial disputes and to enable international arbitration so that disputes decided here can be easily enforced in other jurisdictions. In principle, the incorporation of an arbitration clause should lead to the successful resolution of such disputes in a private, expeditious, and cost-effective way.

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Property ownership – joint tenants or tenants in common?

There are two forms of ownership that can be registered on a Certificate of Title when you are purchasing land. These terms have specific meanings, which is very important in structuring how your property is actually owned.

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Trusts as Vehicles for Wealth Management

Trusts can be a useful mechanism to manage and distribute wealth.  They can be used in this way both during your lifetime and after you have died.

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Repeal of Gift Duty - Not All Good News for Trusts

Gift duty was introduced over 125 years ago to prevent people from giving away their assets before they died to avoid payment of estate duty. Estate duty was abolished in 1992 but, due to uncertainty regarding how its abolition might impact on income tax and targeted social welfare assistance, gift duty was not abolished at the same time.

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Relationship Property and Trusts

The thinking behind the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("the Act") is that marriages and de facto relationships of more than three years are a partnership.  Partners in the normal course of events contribute equally, often in different ways.  Economic contributions are not to be valued higher than non-financial contributions.  As a result it is the policy of this legislation that the wealth accumulated in the relationship should be shared equally when the relationship ends, whether it be through separation or through the death of one of the partners.

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Lending to Trusts

New Zealand has a large number of family trusts per capita. Lending to trustees and taking guarantees and securities from trustees is becoming very common. Unfortunately, a trust can mean big problems for lenders wishing to enforce their rights. To see why this is we'll look at how trusts work and then look at how this impacts on unsecured lenders and secured lenders.

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The Rule Against Perpetuities

Download the pdf of this presentation prepared...

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Relationship Property Settlements Involving Trusts

Introduction New Zealand has a very large number of "domestic" trusts . Putting into trusts things like "family homes", holiday homes, business shares, and investments which would otherwise be Relationship Property is very common. Unfortunately, a trust can mean problems for a party wanting to enforce their rights after a relationship break down. To see why this is we'll look at some key trust concepts and then look at some of the problems. Then we'll move on to talk about some specific points on doing a settlement deal involving a trust.

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Asset Planning for Farmers

Asset planning is arranging a person’s assets and affairs to protect the person, their assets, and their family against risks, and also keep their assets and affairs in an advantageous way. Some people and their families are more exposed to certain risks than others. Jeff Kenny, a Partner with Wynn Williams, explains how these risks can arise due to occupation, age, health, financial position, and family circumstances.

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Business Borrowing: The Impact on Family Trusts

How can business borrowing affect your family trust? Annabel Sheppard, partner, and Charlene Sell,
solicitor, from Wynn Williams, discuss the risks of taking out a business loan secured by trust assets.

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Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
Wynn Williams Auckland
Level 25, Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
PO Box 2401, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140.
+64 9 300 2600
+64 9 300 2609

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