Wills and Estates
The management and organisation of wills and estates can seem complex and unnecessary, but it is reassuring to know that those you leave behind are properly taken care of and that your assets are distributed appropriately.
Wills have a very long history as the last disposition of a person’s property, whether it’s a substantial asset, land, house, cash, shares or something else of sentimental value that is intended for a specific person.
Whatever they are, and whatever the value or emotion attached to the asset, the document dealing with them must comply with technical requirements designed to show that the “will” or “testament” of the deceased person was voluntary when made and is valid now as their last legal decision.
Today, with increasing longevity, the non-technical concept of a “will or testament” has been expanded to include documents that are “living wills’, where a person in advance of illness specifies the limits of medical treatment or “enduring powers of attorney”, in which a living person enables others to act on their behalf in the event of physical or mental disability. They overlap with trusts but none of them are truly wills, which take effect only on death.
Our experienced team takes your instructions whilst you are alive, advises on the need for living wills and enduring powers of attorney and trusts. However, we will concentrate more on drafting your last statement of your affairs and how they are to be dealt with and distributed after your death.
We will work with you to prepare a will that clearly reflects your wishes, protecting both your property and your family so that the assets and liabilities of your estate are finalised and the required distributions are made.
If appropriate, partners of the firm can be appointed as executors of your will for those purposes. In addition, our independent trustee company can also act as a trustee of your family trust, working together with your family to co-ordinate administration, providing professional and sensitive advices during what can be a difficult time.
Those services include administration of your estate, obtaining probate (which is the official approval to act on your behalf in collecting, assessing, administering and final distributing estates after liabilities have been met).
We can also deal with the re-validation of the probate of foreign wills in New Zealand and New Zealand wills overseas.
Finally, we can also advise on the interpretation of wills, family protection claims and beneficiary entitlements and deal with resulting disputes.