Articles

Are You in a De Facto Relationship?

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

It is common knowledge that when a married couple in New Zealand gets divorced, they, general speaking, get half each of all the property owned by the parties.  In New Zealand this asset division also extends to de facto relationships of more than three years, but what is a de facto relationship?  A marriage is easy to identify:  there is a wedding, someone cuts the cake, there is usually an adorable child in charge of the rings and most importantly, a legal document; a marriage certificate which says you are married.  However, de facto relationships are not so easy to identify. Read more

When Charity Does Not Begin at Home and Testamentary Freedom Triumphs

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The truism that charity begins at home might have been given a serious knock back going by the recent UK Supreme Court decision concerning an adult daughter's claim against her mother's estate in IIott v Mitson [2017] UKSC 17.  Read more

Are You Getting Your Fair Share of Relationship Property Upon a Break Up?

Thursday, April 06, 2017

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 ("the Act") applies to marriages, civil unions and de facto relationships.  Generally under the Act, at the end of one of these relationships, the parties receive a 50:50 share of all the relationship property.  This usually includes the home, family chattels, and all other property acquired during the relationship.  However the Court does have the power to award a lump sum payment or order the transfer of relationship property from one party in the relationship to the other under Section 15 of the Act. Read more

Will That Do? - Validation of Non-Compliant Wills

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Before a deceased's last will can have the legal effect of distributing property to his or her heirs accordingly to its terms, it must be admitted to probate, that is accepted by the High Court as being valid. Read more

The New Draft Trusts Bill and its Suggested Disclosure Rules - How Could This Affect You?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A new Trusts Bill has recently been released for public consultation.  This bill updates and changes various aspects of trust law.  One interesting proposed change is the rights beneficiaries have to trust information.  The most recent judicial case involving beneficiaries and trust information is Erceg v Erceg [2017] NZSC 28.  The Supreme Court did not find that there was a presumption for or against disclosure of trust documents, but that there is an "expectation that basic trust information will be disclosed to a close beneficiary who wants it".  The Supreme Court's analysis did differ from the lower Courts.  The Supreme Court listed certain factors to take into consideration when courts receive a request for disclosure.  They are: Read more

Are You Entitled To Value From Your (Soon-to-Be) Ex-Spouse's or Ex-Partner's Trust?

Monday, March 13, 2017

What happens if your relationship ends and your spouse/partner has previously settled property in a trust?  If the trust is valid, and there have been no dispositions to which the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 applies, there are two ways you may make a claim against that property. Read more

Dispelling Some Of The Myths About Property Division On Separation

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Most people who have been through a separation would agree that it is a difficult and stressful time. This can be exacerbated when there is confusion or misunderstanding about what property is classed as relationship property and what property is classed as separate property. The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (“the Act”) provides a code for how property is to be divided on separation for couples who are married, in a civil union partnership or de facto/same sex relationship.  Read more

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