Maryanne Green's $400 million estate trustee status disputed

A family dispute over NBR Rich Lister Hugh Green's estate was back in court today.

Maryanne Green, the daughter of the late NBR Rich Lister Hugh Green, will not exercise her power as a trustee over her father’s $400 million business empire until an application preventing her from having any power is determined.

But Justice Helen Winkelmann has also indicated the application, made as part of an attempt to fully remove her as a trustee, must be made urgently because of Ms Green’s “legitimate concern” the process could otherwise  be further delayed.

In June, Ms Green successfully overturned a will Mr Green made just months before his death, removing family members as trustees of the trusts controlling the empire, the Hugh Green Trust and the Hugh Green Property Trust.

The beneficiaries of the trusts are Hugh Green's wife Moira, their three children, and grandchildren.

The only change in the will, in which Ms Green lost her position on the trust, added Hugh’s son John and daughter Frances as directors and trustees, along with Auckland barrister Michael Fisher.

Mr Green built his wealth in New Zealand through construction, farming and property investment, after arriving from Ireland penniless  in 1951.

He died at the age of 80 in July, 2012.

Following Justice Winkelmann’s decision in June, which is being appealed, Ms Green was declared a trustee of the two trusts, as well as being reappointed director of a number of the Green family companies.

John and Frances were also found to be invalidly appointed, including their directorships.

But Justice Winkelmann’s later decision also restrained Ms Green from exercising her power to vote as a trustee, which she had consented to at a hearing.

Today, Ms Green sought an application to remove the restraints before Justice Winkelmann in the High Court at Auckland.

Moira, John and Frances Green are taking separate proceedings to remove Maryanne as a trustee but intend to first make an application seeking interim relief, which will effectively prevent her from exercising powers as trustee.

After numerous adjournments and meetings between counsel, including questions from Justice Winkelmann as to why any of this was necessary when “things are going so well,” orders were eventually worked out.

Ms Green gave her undertaking to not exercise her power as a trustee to vote, and only attend trustee meetings on invitation of the interim trustees, David Randell and Chris Darlow, pending any determination in the interim relief application.

But it was also agreed  her family’s interim relief application to remove her powers as a trustee be filed by September 10, seeking urgency.

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