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Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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Monday, April 7, 2014

New Zealand High Court Reveals A Breach of Fiduciary Duty

GavelRecently, a New Zealand High Court found that the former city councilor of Auckland City did not perform his fiduciary duty. Former Auckland City Councilor, Greg Moyle, failed to keep the beneficiaries of a $1.4 million dollar estate updated and informed about his investments. The investments were made with farmer Murray Dean's money. Mr. Dean died ten years ago, but in his will named Mr. Moyle as his executor.

Under the will, Mr. Dean left his estate to his wife and children from his first marriage. The will instructed that the estate should generate income for his wife's lifetime and after her death be distributed evenly among his children. After Mr. Moyle failed to provide information about how the money was being invested, Mr. Dean's children filed suit.

Eventually, Mr. Moyle provided the information, but the court forced him to pay court costs. The fees he paid himself were more than $100,000 in seven years; he claims the fees were standard in managing the sizable estate. Additionally, the court revealed unauthorized payments. General manager for NZ Financial Planning, Craig Dealey, stated the company only learned of the court case a short time after Mr. Moyle resigned and did not agree with the way Mr. Moyle handled the situation.

See David Fisher, Conduct Over Will Criticised by Judge, NZ Herald, April 5, 2014.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2014/04/recently-a-court-found-that-the-former-city-councillor-of-auckland-city-did-not-perform-his-fiduciary-duty-of-keeping-the-fa.html

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