Trustees are reminded that trust deeds must be strictly adhered to, including on winding up of a trust, Solicitor-General Una Jagose says.
"In general, once a gift is made to charity, the gift is irrevocably committed to charitable purposes and cannot be returned to the donor," she says.
Her comments come as an additional statement following a joint statement by the Solicitor-General and Geoff Harley, counsel for Sir Owen Glenn and the trustees of the Glenn Family Foundation Charitable Trust.
Ms Jagose says the Solicitor-General exercises powers granted to the Attorney-General as protector of charities under section 58 of the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.
"Modern charitable trusts frequently include a winding up providing allowing trustees to instigate the winding up of the trust."
The joint statement by the Solicitor-General and Dr Harley says the Solicitor-General has investigated the winding up of the Glenn Family Foundation Charitable Trust.
"The Solicitor-General disputed the payment of about $326,000 from the trust to Sir Owen Glenn personally on winding up," it says.
"Although the money was originally sourced from a trust associated with Sir Owen, the Solicitor-General's view was that, as is usually the case, the surplus funds should have been paid to a charitable purpose in New Zealand.
"Sir Owen has paid a sum in excess of that to the proposed new medical school at the University of Waikato, and the Solicitor-General has accepted that the dispute is resolved."