Susan Lyall


+64 3 964 5833

+64 21 0245 6760


Specialising in all aspects of trusts and asset planning law, Susan Lyall has more than 25 years’ experience practicing in Christchurch. She focuses on trusts, asset protection, wills and estate planning, gaining a comprehensive view of her client’s world and providing tailored advice aligned with their objectives.

Well-respected in the market, Susan’s clients appreciate her attention to detail and her empathetic way in handling sensitive matters. She enjoys building close relationships with clients, partnering with them to create personalised and appropriate asset planning structures that meet their needs.

Wills and Estate Planning

Susan works with individuals to prepare and manage their assets in the event of their incapacitation or death. She provides advice on creating and implementing estate plans that meet her clients’ objectives, providing them with the benefit of peace of mind. Susan advises clients on:

  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Enduring powers of attorney
  • Estate administration
  • Court applications under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act for appointment of property managers/administrators and welfare guardians
  • Occupation right agreements for clients moving to retirement villages
  • Relationship property and property sharing agreements.

Discretionary and Charitable Trusts

Susan has considerable experience on the establishment, re-organisation, and administration of trusts to achieve both business and personal objectives for her clients. She provides advice on setting up and structuring family trusts, how to protect assets within the family trust, and drawing up the trust deed.

Susan helps both individuals and organisations to set up charitable trusts, ensuring they meet the requirements set out in the Charities Act 2005, clarifying obligations for trustees, and drawing up the trust deed. She undertakes both paid and pro-bono work for charitable trusts including Lighthouse Vision Trust, Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust, Ōtautahi Education Development Trust and the Air Rescue Trust.

Relationship Property

Susan has extensive knowledge of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. She has acted for clients to protect assets before or during a marriage or de facto relationship, and assisted with the division of property following a relationship breakdown. She has represented clients in mediation, arbitration and in the Family Court to resolve relationship property disputes.

Susan’s clients appreciate her attention to detail and empathy:

“I want to thank you for all your help with the trust deed review – what an undertaking! It is good to know that Marralomeda Trust is acting in accordance with current trust laws and things have been updated where appropriate.” – Matthew Martin, Former Board Member, Marralomeda Charitable Trust

Key Transactions

  • Assisted with the establishment of Te Toi Mahana, a charitable trust set up to lease and manage the entire social housing portfolio owned by Wellington City Council. The portfolio comprises 1,900 social housing units and supports over 3,000 tenants throughout Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
  • Assisted clients with the establishment of trusts to hold both passive and income earning assets.
  • Acted for clients in the distribution of farm assets from a trust and ultimate wind up of that trust.
  • Acting for clients to design and implement structures to protect assets both during and prior to entering relationships.
  • Acting for beneficiaries disputing their entitlement under a will.
  • Assisting with the establishment of a charitable trust to facilitate a children’s choir throughout New Zealand.
  • Acted for high net worth clients to review, advise and restructure their trust and personal asset planning structures, including appointing corporate trustees, transfer and resettlement of assets between trusts and attending to the wind up a number of trusts.
  • Assisting and advising a beneficiary of an estate trust during protracted litigation over significant farm assets.


Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Bachelor of Arts (BA), University of Canterbury

Admission to the Bar

New Zealand, 1994

Professional Memberships

New Zealand Law Society, Member

Canterbury Women’s Legal Association, Member

Directorships and Trusteeships

Cashmere High School, Board Trustee, 2016-2021