Frequently Asked Questions

Find FAQs related to last will and testaments. This is the place to learn more about wills, trusts, estate planning, holographic wills, living wills, inheritance, and other legal matters

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A Will or Last Testament is a legal document in which you state who should inherit or receive your property, direct how to pay any outstanding debts and taxes, make bequests and gifts, and name a guardian for your minor children in case one is ever needed.

Category: Frequent Questions
Tag: Will

These are the most common and recognised type of Will

These are the most common and recognised type of Will and invariably require two non-beneficiary witnesses to be present at the same time to witness the Testator’s signature to their Will. A simple or statutory Will is a “one-size-fits-all” document that works well for people with small, uncomplicated estates.

Category: Will Types

You need a Will to provide for your family and friends after you die

You need a Will to provide for your family and friends after you die – making sure that your property is distributed how and where you wish it to go.
If you die without making a Will (what’s known as dying “intestate”) then the Probate Court decides how your property and assets are distributed in accordance with the law’s legal formula. The Court will also appoint an Executor to manage your estate’s distribution in accordance with this formula.
This can be a long drawn out and expensive affair. During which your family could be denied access to bank accounts and financial information; which has been known to cause severe financial and emotional stress.
Any gifts you had in mind, burial arrangements or to whom you left your estate will not necessarily be known or taken in to account by the government appointed trustee executor.
So, by making a Will you can avoid a lot of emotional, financial, and decision making stress for your family and friends.
When you make your Will it is important to remember that you will not be there to answer questions from family, friends and lawyers. So, to avoid any arguments and upsets, make sure your instructions are quite clear and unambiguous and that you’ve covered everything you want to.
Furthermore, making a Will means you can appoint your own Executors who you know and trust, to ensure that your last wishes are carried out in a sympathetic and honest way.

A Will depending on certain conditions happening

This type of Will specifies that its provisions are only valid if a certain event happens or does not happen. A common example is the beneficiary reaching a certain age. If the condition in the Will is not met, and the person does not have another Will, the estate will be distributed as if there were no Will.

Category: Will Types

Simple Will is the most common and recognised type of Will

Also known as a Mum and Dad Will, these are the most common and recognised type of Will and invariably require two non-beneficiary witnesses to be present at the same time to witness the Testator’s signature to their Will. A simple Will is a “one-size-fits-all” document that works well for people with small, uncomplicated estates. You can prepare one by filling in the blanks in a-specific template that contains standard terms that meet your state’s legal requirements.

Category: Will Types

Mum and Dad Will are the most common and recognised type of Will

Also known as a Simple Will, these are the most common and recognised type of Will, and invariably require two non-beneficiary witnesses to be present at the same time to witness the Testator’s signature to their Will. A simple Will is a “one-size-fits-all” document that works well for people with small, uncomplicated estates. You can prepare one by filling in the blanks in a-specific template that contains standard terms that meet your state’s legal requirements.

Category: Will Types

A Living Will or Advance Directive in NZ sets out instructions for what type of medical treatment you want should you be unable to communicate your wishes at that time

A Living Will or Advance Directive in NZ sets out instructions for what type of medical treatment, if any, you want administered in case you are unable to communicate your wishes at that time. Such as , whether you want to be put on a respirator or have a feeding tube, and whether you should be resuscitated if you stop breathing. It is not a document that distributes your assets after you die.

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Category: Will Types

If you have set up a living trust, you can use this type of Will to name the trust as your primary beneficiary. When you die, any probate assets not already named in the trust will pour into it and be distributed according to its terms

Category: Will Types

This is a Will you’ve written yourself.

These are Wills made in your own handwriting and preferably should be witnessed at the time. Ideally you should sign and date it.

Category: Will Types

This is a spoken Will telling someone how you want your estate distributed on your death.

This is a spoken Will not written. You tell someone how you want your estate distributed on your death.

A Will may be made orally if it is a privileged will (a will which can be made by a member of the armed forces employed in an expedition or engaged in actual warfare). It is highly undesirable to make an oral Will, as it can be difficult to acquire probate from the Courts. Ideally a Will should be made in writing.

These are also called deathbed Wills.

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Category: Will Types

Couples, usually spouses or civil partners, may each make identical Wills leaving everything to the other person.

Couples, usually spouses or civil partners, may each make identical Wills leaving everything to the other person. Each Will may also include the same, mutually agreed upon beneficiaries should they both die at the same time. The survivor can change their Will at any time. Also known as Mirror Wills.

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Category: Will Types

couples make identical Wills leaving everything to the other person

Couples, usually spouses or civil partners, may each make identical Wills leaving everything to the other person. Each Will may also include the same, mutually agreed upon beneficiaries should they both die at the same time. The survivor can change their Will at any time. Also known as Reciprocal Wills.

Quite common today for couples rather than Joint or Mutual Wills.

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Category: Will Types

This is comprised of two separate Wills with identical provisions

This is comprised of two separate Wills with identical provisions, similar to mirror Wills. However, each contains a promise that the survivor will not make changes later, similar to the joint Will.

There can be serious legal complications with this type of Will. A Lawyer should draft a complimentary deed between the parties.

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Category: Will Types

A child’s Guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent

In New Zealand they are known as a Testamentary Guardian. A child’s Testamentary or Will Guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would.  That means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make all the decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be anyone: relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child can ask to be legal guardians.

The guardian is responsible for the child’s care, including the child’s:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • Safety and protection
  • Physical and emotional growth
  • Medical and dental care
  • Education and any special needs

The guardian is also responsible for supervision of the child and its actions.

 

Category: Guardian

Testamentary or Will Guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as their parent

The Care of Children Act 2004 makes provision for a parent to appoint “Testamentary Guardians” for their children through their will.  A Testamentary Guardian will become that child’s guardian automatically when the parent dies and will not be required to make an application to the Family Court.  A Testamentary Guardian can be appointed to care for a child up until that child reaches the age of 18 years (or younger in certain circumstances).

These are sometimes known as a Legal Guardian. A child’s Testamentary or Will Guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would. This means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make all the decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be anyone: relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child can ask to be legal guardians.

The guardian is responsible for the child’s care, including the child’s:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • Safety and protection
  • Physical and emotional growth
  • Medical and dental care
  • Education and any special needs

The guardian is also responsible for supervision of the child and its actions.

 

Category: Guardian

An Executor is responsible for seeing that (1) the terms of the Will are carried out

An Executor is responsible for seeing that (1) the terms of the Will are carried out and distributing the estate (2) applying for probate if necessary, winding up the deceased’s’ affairs, arranging final tax returns and payments, and defending the Will against any challenge.

They should be someone you trust, who will act responsibly, and who has agreed to be your executor. Appointing someone younger than yourself, or appointing more than one person, is a safeguard against your appointment becoming void if your executor dies before you. If more than one executor is appointed, it should be made clear whether they are to act jointly or if the second person is only a substitute.

Although a Will should appoint an executor, it is still valid if it does not. To act, an executor must be over 18 years of age. A child can be appointed as an executor but cannot act until eighteen. Probate will not be granted to a single executor under the age of 20 unless they are over 18 and is / or have been married in a civil union. You can nominate a major beneficiary.

If a person appointed as an executor does not wish to act, or is not able to act, they can formally renounce the appointment.

If a person appointed as an executor does not wish to act, or is not able to act, they can formally renounce the appointment. The responsibility will then be passed to the substitute or alternative executor. If no executor named in the Will is willing or able to act then the closest relative (or a trustee company or Public Trust) can apply to the High Court, for an order entitling them to administer the estate. These are formally called letters of administration. The person given authority to deal with the estate is then called the administrator.

This process will also be necessary if the deceased left a will but it’s invalid or didn’t name an executor, or if the named executor is unable or unwilling to act – for example, they may have since died, or moved overseas.

Yes you can. And many people do. Often a Lawyer or Trustee.
This can be a very expensive option as the professional fees could be a percentage of your estate, plus hourly fees especially in the case of licenced Trustee/Executor Companies.

A person appointed or who petitions to administer an estate in an intestate succession. (where there’s no will). The antiquated English term of administratrix was used to refer to a female administrator but is generally no longer in standard legal usage.

The antiquated English term of administratrix was used to refer to a female administrator of a deceased person’s estate but is generally no longer in standard legal usage.

Anyone who receives a gift left in a Will or benefits from a Trust.

To leave property at one’s death; another word for give.

A gift of property to a beneficiary.

A kind of insurance policy that protects inheritors against loss that the personal representative of an estate (the administrator or executor) might cause.

A codicil to a Will is (1) amendment to a will; (2) a will that modifies or partially revokes an existing or earlier will.

A gift of real estate left at death. And a verb meaning to give at death.

Refers to a person who has died which in a Will is normally the person who made the Will.

Succession to real property.

Someone who inherits any property through a Will.

Distribution of Property by Executor Administrator.

The person named in a Will, and appointed by the probate court after the Will-maker’s death, to wind up the affairs of a deceased person. In some states/places, executors are sometimes known as personal representatives.

An Executor is a person named to administer the estate, generally subject to the supervision of the probate court, in accordance with the testator’s wishes in the will. In most cases, the testator will nominate an executor in their will.

An old-fashioned rarely used term for a female executor.

Someone who creates a trust; a settlor.

A gift made in a Will that cannot be given to the intended recipient because that person has not survived the Will-maker and the Will makes no alternative provision.

Someone who inherits property.

Inheritance tax is a tax imposed on people who inherit property. ‘death taxes’ or ‘death duties’ no longer exist under New Zealand

Inheritance tax is a tax imposed on people who inherit property.

While the Estate must pay tax on any income earned, ‘death taxes’ or ‘death duties‘ no longer exist under New Zealand tax law. (They were officially abolished in 1993) This means that there is no tax to be paid on inheritance by beneficiaries.

there are no death taxes or duties under New Zealand tax law

Death duty or tax is imposed on people who inherit property.

While the Estate must pay tax on any income earned, death taxes or duties no longer exist under New Zealand tax law. (They were officially abolished in 1993) This means that there is no tax to be paid on inheritance by beneficiaries.

A beneficiary in a succession, testate or intestate.

A person who has not created a will, or who does not have a valid will at the time of death; equal to intestacy.

Direct descendants, including children, grandchildren, and so on. A spouse, brothers, sisters, parents, and other relatives are not issue.

A legacy is a gift of personal property or money left at death. Traditionally a legacy refers to either a gift of real property or personal property.

Someone who inherits property. Ie. someone receiving a legacy.

All personal belongings and assets except real estate property. (generally)

A Personal Representative is a general term that covers both executors and administrators – in other words, it refers to whoever is doing the job of managing the deceased’s estate.

A Personal Representative is a general term that covers both executors and administrators – in other words, it refers to whoever is doing the job of managing the deceased’s estate.

Per Stirpes is a method of distributing an estate when one of the beneficiaries dies before the will maker. The predeceased beneficiary’s share is divided equally among that person’s own heirs.

A legal process of obtaining PROBATE from the relevant Supreme court in States/Territories allowing the Executor to assume office and “ start work” settling the estate of a deceased person.

Real estate property. Such as land and houses.

All property subject to a Will that isn’t given away specifically in the Will. So what’s left after all taxes, gifts, debts etc. have been settled.

An old-fashioned way of saying “having possession of.” For example, a will might state “I leave to my husband all property I am seized of at my death.”

Someone who creates a Trust.

An inherited gift of a precisely identifiable object.

An inherited gift of a precisely identifiable object.

Someone who takes over as trustee of a trust if the original trustee can no longer serve.

Items that can be touched. For example a car or bracelet. As opposed to intangible such as stocks and shares.

Having to do with a Will. For example, a trust that is set up in a Will is called a testamentary trust.

A person who dies having created a will before death.

The Will writer. Someone who writes and executes (signs) a Will.

A person who executes or signs a will; that is, the person whose will it is. The antiquated English term of Testatrix was used to refer to a female, and is still in use in Australia.

The old-fashioned term for a female will-writer.

A person who has the legal authority over a Trust, and is responsible for its administration.

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document by which one person (the donor) gives another person (the attorney) the power to act on their behalf in certain circumstances.

In this situation, the agent can perform almost any act as the principal, such as opening financial accounts and managing personal finances. A general power of attorney arrangement is terminated when the principal becomes incapacitated, revokes the power of attorney or passes away.

This arrangement designates another person to act on the principal’s behalf and includes a durable clause that maintains the power of attorney after the principal becomes incapacitated.

In this instance, the agent has specific powers limited to a certain area. An example is a power of attorney that grants the agent authority to sell a home or other piece of real estate.

In some states, a “springing” power of attorney is available and becomes effective when a specified event occurs such as when the principal becomes incapacitated.

a trusted person – or people – to make financial and/or property decisions on your behalf

An enduring power of attorney(EPOA) is a legal agreement that enables a person to appoint a trusted person – or people – to make financial and/or property decisions on their behalf. An enduring power of attorney is an agreement made by choice that can be executed by anyone over the age of 20, who has full legal capacity.

An Advance Directive sets out instructions for what type of medical treatment, if any, you want administered in case you are unable to communicate your wishes at that time. Examples of instructions in an Advance Directive include whether you want to be put on a respirator or have a feeding tube, and whether you should be resuscitated if you stop breathing. It is not a document that distributes your assets after you die.

An Advance Directive is a statement signed by a person setting out in advance the treatment wanted or not wanted in the event of becoming unwell in the future. An advance directive is a good way to gain more control over your treatment and care, should you experience an episode of mental incapacity, which leaves you unable to decide or communicate your preferences at the time.

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Anyone who is legally competent to make a healthcare choice, has the right to make an advance directive, under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights. 

Anyone who is legally competent to make a healthcare choice, has the right to make an advance directive, under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights.

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Your Advance Directive should focus on treatment and care. For example, you could state the treatments you do or don’t want to be given when you are in a crisis. This includes drugs or ECT and, the places you would prefer to receive treatment. Such as hospital, home or a crisis house.

Your Advance Directive should focus on treatment and care. For example, you could state the treatments you do or don’t want to be given when you are in a crisis. This includes drugs or ECT and, the places you would prefer to receive treatment. Such as hospital, home or a crisis house.

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It’s not difficult to make an advance directive. You don’t need a lawyer. In fact, you have the right to make an advance directive without involving anyone else in its preparation. However, taking the following steps will help ensure that your advance directive is respected, and the decisions contained within it acknowledged and acted upon.

It’s not difficult to make an advance directive. You don’t need a lawyer. In fact, you have the right to make an advance directive without involving anyone else in its preparation. However, taking the following steps will help ensure that your advance directive is respected, and the decisions contained within it acknowledged and acted upon.

  • If possible, make your advance directive in writing rather than verbally. State your preferences as clearly as you can, then sign and date it.
  • If you prepare your advance directive with the help of your clinician or another health worker, he or she can verify that you are competent and sufficiently informed about your stated preferences, and can help you clarify the type of situation you intend your directive to cover.
  • If you involve your family/whānau in preparing your advance directive, or at least inform them of it, they will be better equipped to support you and to advocate for your wishes in a crisis.
  • Regularly review and update your advance directive so that it reflects any changes in your condition or your preferences, and is viewed by clinicians as still representing your wishes.
  • Keep a copy of your advance directive yourself, and give copies to your family or support persons, and the clinicians most often involved in your care.

 

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When deciding whether or not to follow your advance directive, your clinician will consider five questions and they are…….

No. When deciding whether or not to follow your advance directive, your clinician will consider five questions:

  • Were you competent to make the decision when you made the advance directive?
  • Did you make the decision of your own free will?
  • Were you sufficiently informed to make the decision?
  • Did you intend your directive to apply to the present circumstances, which may be different from those anticipated?
  • Is the advance directive out of date?

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Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for Property is a legal agreement that enables a person to appoint a trusted person – or people – to make financial and/or property decisions on their behalf.

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for Property is a legal agreement that enables a person to appoint a trusted person – or people – to make financial and/or property decisions on their behalf. An enduring power of attorney is an agreement made by choice that can be executed by anyone over 20 years of age, not bankrupt and not mentally incapable themselves.

It’s a legal document that gives someone you trust the power to look after your money and property if you’re unable to. This person is called your attorney. They can be a:

  • family member
  • trusted friend
  • professional, such as a lawyer or accountant, or
  • trustee company, such as the Public Trust.

NB Your husband, wife or partner does not automatically have the right to access your bank accounts or make decisions about property if it is held in your name. 

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It costs money to set up an EPA because you need to pay for a lawyer or qualified legal executive to witness it.

It costs money to set up an EPA because you need to pay for a lawyer or qualified legal executive to witness it. Working out what you want before meeting with a lawyer can mean the meeting is shorter and therefore cheaper.

You can keep the costs down by making sure you’ve already:

  • talked to the person you want as an attorney and got their agreement
  • agreed on how your money and property will be managed
  • decided whether your attorney must consult with anyone over decisions, and who those people are
  • put together a list of all your assets (house, car, jewellery, investments, furniture, land), including money and any debts
  • decided whether your attorney would look after all your property or only specific things, for example just your bank accounts and investments
  • worked out any special conditions you want your attorney to follow — such as birthday presents for grandchildren or on-going donations to charities
  • decided who would replace your attorney if they died, became bankrupt or mentally incapable
  • decided when you want your EPA to start.

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How to set up an EPA for Property 

You must fill out an EPA for property form and your signature must be witnessed by:

  • a lawyer
  • a qualified legal executive, or
  • an authorised representative of a trustee company.

The witness must also attach a certificate that states they’ve explained:

  • what is an EPA
  • what will happen once it’s in place
  • that you’re not mentally incapable at this time.

The person you’ve chosen to be your attorney also needs to sign the form. Their signature must be witnessed by someone who is not you or your witness.

You can download the EPA form for FREE, from the BeQuest website Legal Forms option on the Services menu. Else your lawyer can provide one.

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Choosing when your EPA for Property starts

 You must choose whether your EPA begins when:

  • you’re still mentally capable, or
  • you’ve become mentally incapable, that is a doctor has decided that you’re no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

If your EPA begins while you’re still mentally capable, it means that your attorney can begin to act when you want or need them to.

If your EPA only starts once you’ve become mentally incapable. Your attorney needs to wait until a doctor or the Family Court has declared that you’re mentally incapable.

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What if you don’t have and EPA for property?

If you are not able to manage your money and property anymore, and you do not have an EPA, your family needs to apply to the Family Court to have someone appointed as a property manager. This can be expensive and time-consuming. And the Court may not appoint the person that you would have chosen. The appointment of a property manager also needs to be renewed every few years.

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Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for Personal Care & Welfare

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) for Personal Care & Welfare  is a legal document that gives someone you trust the power to look after your health and welfare, if you’re unable to do so, due to an illness, accident or loss of mental capacity. Your appointed attorney must be over 20 years of age, not bankrupt the age of 18, who has full legal capacity.

It‘s important to understand that an EPA for personal care and welfare is not an ‘advance directive’ or ‘living Will’. Directions not to resuscitate – or not to go to great lengths to prolong life – do not belong in an EPA.

You decide whether your attorney can make decisions about everything to do with your care and welfare or only some things.

However, no matter what you decide they cannot:

  • make decisions about you getting married, separated or divorced
  • make decisions about the adoption of your children
  • consent to surgery or treatment of your brain, including electro-convulsive treatment (ECT) for the purposes of changing your behaviour
  • refuse consent to standard medical treatment that could save your life or prevent serious damage to you
  • allow you to take part in any medical experiment, unless it might save your life or prevent serious damage to your health.

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How to set up an EPA for Personal Care & Welfare

You must fill out an EPA for personal care and welfare form and your signature must be witnessed by either:

  • a lawyer
  • a qualified legal executive, or
  • an authorised representative of a trustee company.

The witness must also attach a certificate that states they’ve explained:

  • what is an EPA
  • what will happen once it is in place
  • that you are not mentally incapable at this time.

The person you’ve chosen to be your attorney also needs to sign the form. Their signature must be witnessed by someone who is not you or your witness.

You can download the EPA form for FREE, from the BeQuest website Legal Forms option on the Services menu. Else your lawyer can provide one.

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Your attorney can be anyone you trust to understand and respect your wishes and feelings. Usually they are a friend or family member, a colleague, or even a trustee corporation like the Public Trust (for property EPAs only).

Your attorney can be anyone you trust to understand and respect your wishes and feelings. Usually they are a friend or family member, a colleague, or even a trustee corporation like the Public Trust (for property EPAs only).

They must, however, be over 20 years of age, not bankrupt and not mentally incapable themselves.

You may choose the same person for both EPAs. While you may have only one attorney for your personal care and welfare EPA, you may have more than one for your property EPA as you might want people with different skills to look after specific areas. You may also name other people you want your attorneys to consult with on EPA decisions.

Whoever your attorney/s are, it’s important you choose them carefully.

Yes. Our BeQuest Online Wills platform enables you to make your Will in the comfort of your own home.

Yes. Our BeQuest Online Wills platform enables you to make your Will in the comfort of your own home. Which is very handy as you can discuss things with your loved ones as you make it, and look up any details you need. Remember that your Will still needs to be printed, signed and properly witnessed as a hard copy document once you’re done.

Uniquely, you can then store a copy on BeQuest to make sure it is never lost. It is also easy to amend, whenever your circumstances change and you need a fresh one.

A guardian is someone you appoint to look after your children (or pets) when you die.

A guardian is someone you appoint to look after your children (or pets) when you die.

The Care of Children Act 2004 makes provision for a parent to appoint Guardians for their children through their will.  The “Testamentary” Guardian will become that child’s guardian automatically when the parent dies, and will not be required to make an application to the Family Court.  A Testamentary Guardian can be appointed to care for a child up until that child reaches the age of 18 years (or younger in certain circumstances).

These are sometimes known as a Legal Guardian. A child’s Testamentary or Will Guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would. This means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make all the decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be anyone: relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child can ask to be legal guardians.

The guardian is responsible for the child’s care, including the child’s:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • Safety and protection
  • Physical and emotional growth
  • Medical and dental care
  • Education and any special needs

The guardian is also responsible for supervision of the child and its actions.

Category: Guardian

If you die without a will, everything you own will be divided up according to the law, not according to your wishes.

This is called dying intestate. If you die without a will, everything you own will be divided up according to the law, not according to your wishes. The rules vary depending on whether; you’re survived by a spouse or partner, have children or your parents are still alive.

The people you care about most may not be looked after.

And this can be a long drawn out and expensive affair. During which your family could be denied access to bank accounts and financial information; which has been known to cause severe financial and emotional stress.
Any gifts you had in mind, burial arrangements or to whom you left your estate will not necessarily be known or taken in to account by the government appointed trustee executor.

So, by making a Will you can avoid a lot of emotional, financial, and decision making stress for your family and friends.

A Will is a document in which you state who should inherit or receive your property

A Will is a document in which you state who should inherit or receive your property, direct how to pay any outstanding debts and taxes, make bequests, and name a guardian for your minor children in case one is ever needed.

A valid Will must be written by someone of sound mind, signed and witnessed.

To be considered valid, a Will must be written by someone of sound mind who is not being coerced or unduly influenced.
It must be signed by the person making the Will, in the presence of two adult witnesses who know it is that person’s Last Will and Testament, and who then sign and date the Will accordingly. The witnesses must not be beneficiaries of the Will.

Can you appoint a third party as an Executor? Yes and many people do.

Yes you can. And many people do. Often a Lawyer or Trustee.

This can be a very expensive option as the professional fees could be a percentage of your estate, plus hourly fees especially in the case of licenced Trustee/Executor Companies.

A guardian is the person you choose to care for your child in the event that both parents are no longer able to do so

A guardian is the person you choose to care for your child in the event that both parents are no longer able to do so. Naming a guardian is another valuable benefit that a Will can provide. It is important that you should not name anyone to be guardian, without first asking if they are willing, comfortable and accepting of the responsibility this holds.
In New Zealand they are known as a Testamentary Guardian. A child’s Testamentary or Will Guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would.  That means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make all the decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be anyone: relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child can ask to be legal guardians.

The guardian is responsible for the child’s care, including the child’s:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • Safety and protection
  • Physical and emotional growth
  • Medical and dental care
  • Education and any special needs

The guardian is also responsible for supervision of the child and its actions.

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Category: Guardian

where there is no will, estates are deemed ‘intestate’ and the law will step in to determine who is entitled to the estate, or their share of it

In New Zealand, estates of any size are managed in accordance with the terms of the deceased’s will. However, where there is no will, estates are deemed ‘intestate’ and the law will step in to determine who is entitled to the estate, or their share of it. This also applies in cases where the property owner attempted to make a will, but it wasn’t completed properly. Who is entitled to benefit is laid out in section 77 of the Administration Act 1969 which states:

  • Where there is a spouse/ partner, but no parents, children or other descendants – the spouse or partner will receive the whole estate. Civil union partnerships, de facto partners or same sex partners are all included. Should there be more than one spouse or partner, they will share the estate equally amongst them.
  • Where there is a spouse/ partner AND children or other descendants, the spouse/ partner will receive the personal chattels (i.e. boats, cars, furniture, clothing, jewellery etc) plus $155,000 (with interest) and one third of anything that is left over. The amount of $155,000 increases in line with inflation. Interest is payable on this amount from the date of death to the date it is paid out. The rate of interest paid on it also increases in line with inflation. The children/descendants will receive the remaining two thirds. If they have passed away, their share will go to their children, and so on for each generation.
  • Where there is a spouse or partner AND parents, but no children/ descendants, the spouse/ partner is entitled to personal chattels, $155,000 and two thirds of what is left. The parents will be given the final third.
  • Where there are children/ descendants but no spouse/ partner, the estate will be shared equally among the children. If any of the children/descendants have died, their children will receive their share.
  • Where there is no spouse/ partner, no children/descendants, but there are parents, the estate will be divided equally amongst the parents.

* Where there is no spouse/partner, no parents, no children/descendants but there are siblings, the whole estate will be divided equally amongst these siblings, or their children if they have passed away.

  • Where none of the above survive, but there are grandparents or uncles/aunts, half the estate will go to the mother’s side of the family, and half will go to the father’s side.
  • If the deceased is not survived by any of the above – all of the estate will belong to the New Zealand government. If you were dependant, or have reasonable grounds to have benefitted from the estate, you can apply to the New Zealand Treasury to receive your share.
Category: Frequent Questions

If the beneficiary is under age, currently 20 years old, then unless you have stated otherwise in your Will, their inheritance will normally be put in Trust until they do come of age.

Category: Frequent Questions