Read more on Wills

To help you understand more about Wills we have put together the following information.


Laws that can affect your Will

There are a number of laws that can have an affect on your Will. Take a moment to look through the information. If you think these laws may affect you, we’re happy to provide expert advice on how to manage things.

  • The Property (Relationships) Act
  • The Family Protection Act
  • The Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act

The Property (Relationships) Act

In very general terms, if you have been in a relationship for three years or more, your partner is entitled to half your relationship property if you separate or pass away. This applies to married, civil union and de facto couples (including same sex couples). However you can make your own agreement if you want – this is called a ‘property sharing’ or ‘contracting out’ agreement. If you pass away, your partner has six months to either accept what you leave them in your Will or claim their share under the Act.

If you don’t have a Will your partner can still claim their share under the Act. But they may not get as much as you would want, and they could have to sell the family home or other assets to pay other people who are entitled to a share.

The Family Protection Act

Certain people have the right to contest your Will if they feel that you have not made adequate provision for them. The court will then have to consider their circumstances and any obligation you had to them. We can advise you who those possible claimants might be in your particular case.

The Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act

If you’ve promised someone a payment in your Will for their services (such as housekeeping) and don’t keep the promise, they could contest your Will.

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What it means to act as your executor and trustee

Your executor and trustee is charged with carrying out your last wishes and paying your beneficiaries (those you want to benefit under your Will). If your assets need to be held in trust, for instance if you have a young family, the role of trustee carries on until everything is paid out.

As executor and trustee, we’re responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out as set out in your Will – this is the process of estate administration.

We recognise that estate administration can often be a complex process, so we have a team of estate specialists, lawyers and accountants are here to help take care of everything.

An estate specialist will manage and oversee the whole process, from confirming assets, to dealing with the courts and distributing the estate.They’ll listen to the views of your beneficiaries, and consult with them on any important decisions. It’s their job to make sure everything is carried out smoothly and fairly.

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What an enduring power of attorney means

An enduring power of attorney (EPA) sets out who can take care of your personal or financial matters if you can’t.

There are two types – one for your property and one for your personal care and welfare. Both are essential.

Setting up an EPA now gives you better control over what happens later on, should you need it. Unfortunately, things aren’t so easy if you don’t have an EPA – your family won’t automatically be able to step in and the Family Court may be left to decide.

Public Trust recommends everyone who completes a Will also sets up an EPAs.

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Contact us

If you have any questions you’d like answered before your meeting, or if you need to reschedule for any reason, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 371 471, or email us at info@publictrust.co.nz.