Starting a business

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Starting a business is an exciting time. Your motivation is high, you are bursting with ideas and eager to get on with developing a successful and prosperous business. Planning is important at this early stage. Once you have determined the viability of your business concept and you are ready to set up your business you will need to think about the type of structure you will use. Which is the best vehicle from which to conduct your business? This is ...

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Protecting your personal property from business creditors

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When you are in business you want to expose your personal property to as little risk as possible. This is one of the reasons for setting up a separate legal entity for your business, such as an incorporated company, and for keeping your personal affairs and finances completely separate from your business.

Shareholder liability

When you incorporate a company, the shareholders get limited liability protection. That means their liability for the debts of the company is limited to the amount they have ...

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Neighbours’ trees blocking your view

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Some properties have beautiful views.  If you have bought land with a nice view, it makes sense to build your house in a way that takes advantage of that view.  For example, you might put your deck outside of the main living area in the house and position the house so that this main area faces the view.

One day, when admiring the view, you notice some trees starting to grow on your neighbours’ property.  You hope the trees won’t grow ...

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Use of your companies’ names

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Many people have registered limited liability companies, yet operate under separate trading names.

It is prudent to ensure that your business cards and every written communication used or sent by, or on behalf of, any of your businesses have the relevant company’s proper legal name on them.

If you do not do this then your company and you personally as directors risk being convicted of an offence under the Companies Act 1993 and fined $5,000 each.

Also, anyone dealing with you will not ...

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What happens if you die without a will?

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If you don’t have a will when you die, your estate will be divided in the way set out in the Administration Act.  As a result, your property may not go to the people or charities that you would have wanted to benefit from your estate.

Any property you own jointly with another person will usually pass automatically to the surviving joint owner.  For example, if you own a house jointly with another person rather than as tenants in common.  The ...

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Contracting out of the equal sharing rules relating to relationship property

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The rules around how property will be divided if a relationship breaks down are set out in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.  The idea is that spouses and partners are expected to share equally in the fruits of their relationship.

If you don’t want those equal sharing rules to apply to your property, then you and your partner can agree to contract out of the law, by signing an agreement.  That agreement may be called “pre-nup” “contracting out agreement” “section 21 ...

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How to cancel a lease when your commercial tenant stops paying rent

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This article is about what you should and shouldn’t do when enforcing your commercial lease against a tenant that has defaulted on their rent payments or another condition of the lease.

Do not:

Do not take matters into your own hands. Do not physically remove the tenant or the tenant’s property or change the locks.

Do:

The best thing to do is to see a commercial lawyer. Take with you a copy of all the documents you have that relate to your lease together ...

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Debt collection 101: demand payment

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Someone owes you money and you want to be paid.  You may have lent them money or they may owe it to you under an agreement e.g. unpaid rent, or goods supplied on credit.  How do you get the money from them?  Can you make them pay?  A common first step to recover a debt is to write a letter demanding payment.

A “letter of demand” is a formal way of demanding payment. The letter will usually include the following information:

  • Identify ...
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Trustees’ Duties

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The duties of trustees of a charitable trust are contained in the trust deed, Trustees Act 1956, Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and Charities Act 2005.  The duties continue until the trustee resigns, although in certain circumstances they can continue after resignation.

The primary duties of a trustee are to:

  • comply with the terms of the trust deed that created the trust;
  • act honestly and loyally; and
  • act in the best interests of the trust.

Additionally, all trustees have an obligation to:

  • treat the trust’s potential beneficiaries ...
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Trustee Liability – Charitable Trusts

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The Trustees of the board of an incorporated charitable trust are generally not personally liable to the creditors of the trust.

Charitable trusts can be incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1956.  An incorporated charitable trust is a separate legal entity and is liable for the obligations of the trust.  Unless the trustees expressly undertake personal liability the trustees of the trust should not be personally liable to the creditors of the trust.

The protection gained by trustees once they incorporate the ...

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