What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
Two important things to know, to avoid any future issues:
About 1,500 people die in New Zealand every year without a will - this is called dying “intestate”. What happens to your property if you haven’t left directions for how to distribute your assets?
1. The Court will appoint an Administrator of your Estate. Your loved ones would have to apply to the Court for administration, and this can take around six weeks for the High Court to process the application, or longer if the court is busy. This process is complicated, and more expensive than if you leave a Will.
Part of the process of getting the Court to appoint an Administrator includes:
Your loved ones proving to the Court that they have made a genuine effort to try to find a valid Will; and
That a search has been undertaken for any illegitimate children who may have a claim.
2. The Court appointed Administrator will be required to distribute your assets to your next of kin in accordance with the Administration Act 1982 which might not be exactly what you wanted. It could mean that family members will benefit from your assets even if you do not want them to receive anything.
The good news is, it is easy to avoid these problems - by simply making a Will.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot, or take much time - but it’s worth doing to know your loved ones will be looked after in the way you intended, after you’re gone.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice.