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Publications on this website are provided as a service to clients, colleagues, and others for general information only. This information is not designed to provide legal or other advice or create a lawyer-client relationship. You should not take, or refrain from taking action based on its content.


Trees are a common cause of acrimony between neighbours. Overhanging branches or spreading roots can cause problems on a neighbouring property and may even present a risk of personal injury. Fallen leaves blocking gutters, roots cracking driveways or sewerage pipes, too much shading of garden beds, and damage to fences and rooves are some of the most common issues. In Australia, branches that overhang a neighbour’s boundary are regarded as a nuisance. Whether they are causing damage or not, in the eyes of the law, overhanging branches are trespassing. A neighbour is therefore allowed to prune branches to the boundary line without the permission of the owner of the tree. Of course, out o

Family trusts + Estate Planning

What is a family trust? A family trust is a trust established during the lifetime of a person (“inter vivos”). Family trusts come in a range of shapes and forms, but the term usually refers to discretionary trust that has beneficiaries from a specific family, and the beneficiaries often include related entities (such as companies and other trusts) of those family members. The only way to know what type of trust has been set up is to read the trust deed. Names of trusts can be misleading, so it is vital that all planning and discussions are based around the actual trust instrument – the deed. A trust titled a ‘family trust’ may actually be a will trust, a fixed trust, a bare trust or even a

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