NZ law and wills

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

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 reward in your will for services carried out during your lifetime but for which you did not pay them (such as housekeeping) and you don’t keep that promise, they can make a claim for the reward.

The Property (Relationships) Act

In 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 die. This applies to married, civil union and de facto couples. But you can make your own agreement if you want – this is called a ‘property sharing’ or ‘contracting out’ agreement. If you die 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.

Find out how the PRA could affect you

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Can a will be challenged?