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The end of the Rinehart family's trust fund battles?

Australian mining tycoon and one of the world's richest women Gina Rinehart is planning to step down as head of her family's trust – possibly ending her two-year feud with two of her four children.
Stepping down: Gina Rinehart

Australian mining tycoon and one of the world's richest women Gina Rinehart is planning to step down as head of her family's trust – possibly ending her two-year feud with two of her four children.

Three of her children had launched a lawsuit to remove their mother as trustee of the multi-billion dollar Hope Margaret Hancock Trust in 2011 after she changed its vesting date to 2068 just days before it was due to pay out.

Rinehart's barrister, Bruce McClintock, said she had made the decision to give up management of the trust because the litigation was increasingly taking up her time and taking her away from company responsibilities.

The trust holds a 23.5% of Hancock Prospecting's shares and was set up by Rinehart's late father, Lang Hancock. Rinehart herself owns a 75% stake in Hancock Prospecting outright.

Rinehart originally said she changed the vesting date because she was worried her children's efforts to crack open the trust could land the family with a multi-million-dollar capital gains tax bill.

Case comes to a close?
McClintock added that Rinehart's decision should mean the lawsuit between her and her children is now over, although she still wants her say in who replaces her, stipulating the should not put the trust at risk and should be a "lineal descendent" of the family.

Two of Rinehart's children that are still fighting the case, John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart, are not entirely satisfied – claiming that their mother acted "deceitfully" in her role as manager of the trust.

The case concerning the management of the trust is still scheduled for 8 October.

The two children want to further investigate Rinehart's claims about the massive tax bill they could face if the trust was allowed to vest.

They suspect she adapted tax advice she had received to dissuade her children from claiming their share of the family fortune.

Rinehart's third daughter, Hope Rinehart Welker, withdrew from the case against her mother in March this year after she was left in financial difficulties following a split from her husband.

A judge ordered Rinehart Welker to join her mother and younger sister Ginia Rinehart as defendants in the case, while her half brother and sister continued the fight.

The judge overseeing the case ordered that the replacement trustee or trustees be decided through mediation before the case returns to court next week.  

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