Our expert private client and trust lawyers provide strategic advice on the full range of private client and trust work to individuals, family offices, corporates, iwi and trustees. That extends from advising and acting on disputes (at all levels of the New Zealand court system and in ADR), to advising on asset planning, the establishment and management of trusts, taxation, complex succession matters, and migration to and from New Zealand.


We advise and act on contentious trust, estate and relationship property disputes. This includes litigation, alternative dispute resolution and pre-litigation advice and correspondence. Russell McVeagh frequently receives reverse briefs from leading barristers and is instructed on significant, complex and/or particularly sensitive private client and trust disputes.
Our wider team of specialists is drawn from across Russell McVeagh's practice groups with market-leading expertise in tax, immigration, trusts and corporate/commercial matters who can draw on the capabilities of the broader firm, including banking and finance, real estate and regulatory expertise to provide front-end solutions and advisory assistance.
In addition to advising on domestic arrangements and disputes, much of the work we do has an international dimension. We work collaboratively with existing offshore and domestic advisors and can help you choose the best advisors in another country from our extensive networks.


Our experience includes:

  • designing and implementing structures to protect and utilise clients' personal and business assets, including selection of an appropriate legal entity and efficiency of debt or capital funding matters.

  • advising on all legal aspects of the establishment, management, re-organisation and administration of trusts.

  • advising on complex relationship property matters, including disputes in respect of relationship property agreements and the tax consequences of asset transfers under such agreements.

  • acting on contentious cross-border and domestic trust disputes and applications (see, for example, Ivanishvili v Credit Suisse [2018] NZHC 1755).

  • acting for trustees, executors, administrators, fiduciary officeholders and beneficiaries across a wide range of disputes, applications and procedural mechanisms.

  • business and family asset succession and estate planning.

  • acting pro bono for successful appellant in precedent-setting decision of Supreme Court on "trust busting" under relationship property legislation (Preston v Preston [2021] NZSC 154).

  • advising high net worth individuals on the taxation of private wealth investment.

  • advising on the use and taxation of trusts (and other entities) in domestic and international contexts, including the tax consequences of distributions to offshore beneficiaries and the migration of trust assets to or from New Zealand.

  • advising offshore clients migrating to New Zealand on the New Zealand immigration process, asset planning, tax residence and other tax aspects of their move to New Zealand.

​We have also assisted many of our private clients in their interactions with the Overseas Investment Office (which considers applications for approval for certain foreign investments), Immigration New Zealand, Inland Revenue and New Zealand Customs, and can advise you on the practical aspects of dealing with these agencies.

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