Estate planning means deciding who will benefit from your assets when you die, and then legally forming those decisions. Previously, simply preparing a Will would have been sufficient, however, the current New Zealand legislation and modern family structures mean that we need to take a more thorough approach. We can help ensure you have a clear plan for your assets and how they will be distributed so that there is no ambiguity when you are gone.
Planning for the future may include preparing a Will, Powers of Attorney, and restructuring your asset ownership.
If you’re the executor appointed in the deceased’s Will, you should make sure you have the latest Will and find out about any changes to it (called “codicils”). Contact the deceased’s lawyer or the Public Trust. You’ll then need to apply to the High Court for probate of the Will and approval of your power to deal with the estate. The application will need to be supported by an affidavit and other documents.
If someone challenges a Will in court, the process is more complicated and may require a High Court trial. In that case, a lawyer may be needed to represent the deceased’s estate. Once the High Court has made an order granting probate or letters of administration (if there is no Will), the order becomes part of public court records.
If you need more information on how to administer an estate or need representation for a deceased loved one’s estate, our team has you covered. Need a trust lawyer? Get in touch today.
Ensure You Have A Will
- EA Will contains the specific instructions about what you want done with your property and how you want your dependents (spouse, partner, children etc) to be cared for and by whom. It is potentially the most important document you will sign in your lifetime.
- EPreparing a Will saves time and money and ensures your wishes are carried out when you die. It also saves those left behind the challenge of making difficult decisions on your behalf during a time that is fraught with emotion. If there are specific items you want to leave to a particular person, you can include them as a gift in your Will. These items may have sentimental or monetary value. Leaving specific items to someone is called a ‘bequest’. Having bequests may also reduce the chance of another family member successfully contesting a Will.
- EWe recommend that you review your Will every five years, or whenever your circumstances change. This includes when you marry or divorce, enter into a civil union or de facto relationship, have additional children, or if a trustee or significant beneficiary named in the Will dies. Your Will should also be reviewed if your assets or debts change significantly.
- EOur team of Will lawyers are experts at preparing Wills and are up to date on NZ legislation to help you keep your Will up to date with the latest requirements. We will help you prepare a Will that ensures your assets go to the right people after you’re gone.
Enduring Power Of Attorney
We recommend that you review your Will every five years, or whenever your circumstances change. This includes when you marry or divorce, enter into a civil union or de facto relationship, have additional children, or if a trustee or significant beneficiary named in the Will dies. Your Will should also be reviewed if your assets or debts change significantly.
The attorney you nominate does not need to be a lawyer but should be someone that you trust to do the right thing for you. In some cases, two or more people may be appointed. You can name two or more attorneys to manage your property, but you need to say if they must all agree on all decisions (act jointly) or if any of them can act alone (severally) or decisions can be made by most of the attorneys.
There Are Two Different Types Of Enduring Power Of Attorney:
1) An EPA Specific To Your Property
2) An EPA Specific To Your Personal Care And Welfare
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