Family Law.


When a family member passes away, estate administration is not necessarily at the forefront of people’s minds.

You can ask us about:

  • The role of the Executor and Trustee under the Will. In short, the Executor/Administrator will need to:

(i)  Obtain probate for the administration of the estate (which allows the Executor/ Administrator to administer and distribute the estate pursuant to the Will).

(ii)  Arrange to obtain the most recent Will of the deceased.

(iii)  Make a list of all beneficiaries to this Will.

(iv)  Determine if there are any unpaid debts left by the deceased.

(v)  Close all accounts of the deceased including banks, share registers, Kiwisaver provider, utility providers.

(vi)  Arrange for any unpaid tax of the deceased to be paid.


  • Court Applications for the Probate of the Will.
  • The process of administration of an estate in the event that the deceased dies without having a valid Will i.e dies intestate. If you do not have a valid Will in place when you die, this means that your property and possessions are distributed by the Government in accordance with the Administration Act 1969, as you have passed intestate.

For information as to issues and claims that can arise with Estates, see Estate Issues below.

Estate Issues

When a loved one passes away it is sometimes necessary to ascertain whether a claim is able to be made against an Estate either by an intended beneficiary who is not included in the Will or by a relative who feels they should have some entitlement to the deceased Estate. Provided careful consideration is given to the preparation of a Will, often these situations can be avoided. If, however, a challenge is to be made to a Will, we can advise you as to potential claims you may have, or how to defend these if a claim is made against an Estate.

Some issues you may face and you can ask us about include:

  • Family Protection Claims – the recourse available in the event that a close family member has been left out of a Will
  • The moral duty owed by a Testator to certain family members.
  • Testamentary capacity – capacity to make and sign a Will.
  • Testamentary promises claims – In the event you have rendered services in return for a promise of a testamentary disposition, and this has failed to eventuate, there may be a claim available to you.
  • Division of relationship property on death.