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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22153
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Hello ,Im not sure exactly which category this comes under

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Hello ,I'm not sure exactly which category this comes under but my question is this...
We [my husband of 28 years and myself] have a family trust for our 3 properties.Our home where we live plus 2 other properties ,1 with a dwelling and one without.In the case of us separating/divorcing are we both entitled to exactly half of the properties or the value of, plus half of the money in our combined bank account.

Chris The Lawyer : Hi and welcome. My first response will follow shortly. Please feel free to follow up if anything is not clear.
Chris The Lawyer : family trusts are sometimes more difficult to divide because the properties do not belong to either of you but to the trust. What often happens is that the property is settled into two new trust, which separate out your interests. Because neither of you are owners, that is the only way to resolve this, short of winding up the trusts and reverting the properties back into joint names. All other non trust assets are divided equally however

Thanks Chris.I guess there are different ways of setting up trusts.Not quite sure how ours is set up.Am I correct in saying that if anything is changed in regard as to how it operates it needs to be done in the presence of the lawyer or in our case now ,the accountant who administers it


Didnt rate you poor service sorry.just forgot to change the rating.

Chris The Lawyer : if this is a standard family trust then you and your husband are likely to be trustees, and possibly either your lawyer or accountant. So they would need to be involved in setting up new trusts, depending on who is the independent trustee.
Chris The Lawyer : Not all trusts have a third trustee, but many do.
Chris The Lawyer : The trusts would pass a resolution settling the property on the two new trusts, so there is a certain amount of work to be done, if this is how you want to do this.

We used to have our lawyer as a trustee but have recently changed the administering of the trust to our new accountant as we moved towns.Our children also receive an annual tax refund from it.Hw does that work?

Chris The Lawyer : The lawyer may still be a trustee even if he no longer does the work. But that is probably not an issue, because it is the decision of you and your husband as to what you decide. The lawyer and accountant will likely just accept any decision. The tax advantages can still be obtained for the children however.

Yes I get that but how is it that they get a refund? And would any changes to the running or set up of the trust have to be done in the presence of the accountant and my husband,as I think somethings have been changed but I have not had a meeting with them both.

Chris The Lawyer : If the trust earns income this can be attributed to the children at a lower tax rate. That is certainly a common way of doing this. But you would need to specifically ask the accountant how he does this. You will inevitably need a session with the accountant, and if you are still on speaking terms with your husband, then a joint meeting would be needed. If things are more difficult, you may need to instruct your own lawyer and negotiate the changes.

Thankyou for all your assistance.This is a great service you provide.

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