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Individual rights & freedoms


Deciding what happens to your property after you die

What this chapter covers

  • Introduction
    What a will is, whether you have to make one, some key legal words (like “probate” and “intestate”) and what they mean
  • Who’s who: Executors and other key people
    The key people involved in dealing with your will and your property after you die, including executors, administrators and trustees
  • Making a will
    How to make a will, including the rules for having your will signed and witnessed
  • Changing your will
    How to change your will if your situation has changed or you’ve changed your mind about what to do with your property
  • Challenges to your will after you die
    Ways your will might be challenged or not followed after you die – for example, a challenge from family members under the Family Protection Act or a court order under relationship-property laws
  • Where to go for more support
    Other information and resources
Next Section | Introduction

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Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

New Zealand Law Society



Making a will and estate administration

Dividing up relationship property.

Access pamphlets online or order hardcopies from the New Zealand Law Society.

Phone: (04) 472 7837
Email: pamphlets@lawsociety.org.nz

Ministry of Justice


This webpage provides some useful information and links on the more technical legal side of getting a copy of a will when a relative has died.

Māori Land Succession


This gives information on how Māori land is dealt with, including how land is dealt with after an owner has passed away.

Public Trust


Phone: 0800 371 471
The Public Trust gives information about things to consider when making a will, setting things up, choosing an executor and estate administration. Facilities are also available for making a will online. You can call them or visit their website to fill out an enquiry form.

Consumer NZ


The Consumer NZ website contains good information about wills, including the legal requirements for making a will, and what it’s likely to cost to administer after a person dies.

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Community Law Manual is a trail-blazing resource that helps Kiwis (and their advocates) help themselves. The Manual contains over 800 pages of easy-to-read legal info, on just about every area of community and personal life. Re-released every year in July, the Manual provides comprehensive answers to common legal questions.

Buy The Community Law Manual

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