An Auckland trust lawyer has been struck off the roll after pocketing $10,000 from a family trust.
Mary Hackshaw, who has been practising for nearly 30 years, was struck off on Friday after being found guilty of misconduct in relation to how she managed the trust for the children of a deceased man.
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal said that Hackshaw made interest payments to a son of the deceased for six years, but then took the $10,000 through a series of withdrawals before closing the trust account when she sold her practice.
“The funds ultimately were being divided equally between the children of the beneficiary,” said New Zealand Law Society
National Prosecutions Manager Mark Treleaven.
The misappropriation of about $10,000 from the trust amounted to misconduct, the tribunal found.
Aside from being struck off the roll, Hackshaw was ordered to pay the estate compensation of $10,000, pay the New Zealand Law Society costs of $10,518 and to reimburse the costs of the hearing.
Law Society President Kathryn Beck said the former lawyer was in a position of both privilege and trust and she abused it.
“To deprive the beneficiaries of this estate when she was entrusted to look after this sum of money is appalling behavior that won’t be tolerated,” Beck said.