Making a Will and Relationship Property
The Relationship Property Act 1976 ("the Act") was amended in 2002 to include provisions that may apply when a relationship ends by the death of one of the parties. The surviving partner can elect whether to claim against the estate of the deceased or receive under the deceased's Will.
If the first option is chosen then the Act provides that the surviving partner will, in many cases, receive half of the relationship property unless there is evidence to the contrary.
In choosing to make a claim under the Act, the surviving spouse's entitlement effectively overrides the wishes of the deceased person. The claim under the Act also takes priority over other claims against the estate, for example those made under the Family Protection Act 1955.
Any person making a Will therefore needs to be aware of the options their surviving partner has under the Act and to plan accordingly.
For further advice on Wills and Estate Planning, please contact John Stirling or Raechel Pedrotti of this office.
“I have struggled with different legal firms over the years, but over the past few years I have engaged with Turner Hopkins with various requirements from personal relating to wills, family trust, property settlements and contracts through to commercial engagements including employment advice, commercial lease agreements and general legal advice. I have engaged with a number of the people in the firm and always found them professional, punctual in their responses and very sound in the advice provided.”
“I have used Turner Hopkins for my legal services for over eight years. I have always found their level of service excellent and their work to a very high standard. I have used various lawyers at their firm for various businesses I have been involved with and have always had very positive experiences. I would highly recommend them.”
“John is very easy to talk to, he never makes you feel dumb, and never makes you feel like you are wasting his time for asking questions. He explains everything very clearly, every time. John's support staff are also very efficient and so easy to deal with. No detail is missed when dealing with them. My husband and I are fans of them all :)”
“Joy, we cannot thank you enough for your help with our purchase! You have been wonderful to deal with and so proactive (and patient with my numerous emails). We will be visiting NZ in April so will make sure we drop in to thank you in person.”
“I can't speak highly enough of Jenny. She got everything done in a timely manner and when my ex-husband threw a spanner in the works at the eleventh hour she got the required documentation to his lawyers and settlement back on track.”