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Kate Sullivan

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Kate Sullivan


To make an appointment, please contact Christine White christine.white@tompkinswake.co.nz

Qualifications : LLB, LLM (1st class Hons), University of Waikato.

Family Leading 2024


Kate works primarily in the areas of relationship property and estate and trust claims. Kate’s expertise covers disputes involving family trusts, deceased estates, probate, and the division of relationship property.

She regularly advises on relationship property agreements and on the rights and obligations of executors, trustees, and beneficiaries in relation to trusts and estates. She has experience dealing with High Court applications for directions, trustee removal, breach of trust, and Family Protection Act claims.   

Kate’s other areas of practice include applications to validate wills and applications for the appointment of welfare guardians and property managers. Kate also has experience in alternative dispute resolution and regularly helps clients settle disputes though the mediation process.

Areas of expertise

  • Dissolution (Divorce)
  • Relationship Property Disputes
  • Trust Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Relationship Property Agreements
  • Contracting Out/Pre-Nuptial Agreements
  • Appointment as Welfare Guardian
  • Appointment as Property Manager
  • Estate Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Probate and Will Disputes

Other Credentials:

  • Doyles Guide, Leading Lawyer, Family and Relationship Property 2023
  • Doyles Guide, Recommended Lawyer, Family and Relationship Property 2022
  • NZLS Family Law Section member.


  • Clayton v Clayton [2016] NZSC 30, [2016] 1 NZLR 590, (2016) 4 NZTR 26-003, [2016] NZFLR 189 (Supreme Court).  Kate appeared as junior counsel for Mr Clayton in his appeal to the Supreme Court.  These Supreme Court decisions have changed the landscape of trust law in New Zealand particularly in the context of relationship property.