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Trust lawyer struck off over missing $10,000

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  • Trust lawyer struck off over missing $10,000

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    An Auckland lawyer has been struck off the roll after taking $10,000 from a family trust.

    Mary Frances Hackshaw 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 Law Society's national prosecutions manager Mark Treleaven said Hackshaw was required to hold $10,000 in trust, with annual interest being paid to the deceased man's son."The funds ultimately were being divided equally between the children of the beneficiary."

    The Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found Hackshaw, a barrister and solicitor of nearly 30 years, made the interest payments for six years.However, she then took the $10,000 through a series of withdrawals in 2013 before closing the trust account.

    Hackshaw then closed down her legal practice and left New Zealand.She is now believed to be living in Australia and did not respond to the charges or appear before the tribunal.Law Society president Kathryn Beck said she "wouldn't be surprised" if Hackshaw faced criminal charges."To deprive the beneficiaries of this estate when she was entrusted to look after this sum of money is appalling behaviour that won't be tolerated."

    Hackshaw was ordered to pay $10,000 compensation to the estate and to pay the New Zealand Law Society $10,518 in costs and reimburse hearing costs.
    The trust beneficiaries can claim lost trust funds from Hackshaw's fidelity fund, Beck said.
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