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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22622
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My father passed away 25 years ago and at that time he was

Customer Question

My father passed away 25 years ago and at that time he was married to a Fijian Indian woman. She had 2 children with my dad. When my father passed away his wife put a headstone in place without consulting myself or my brother. I sought legal advice but unfortunately, she had all the say. His gravestone is now deteriorating and is crumbling and I would like to replace his headstone with a new one. His then wife has since remarried and I would like to know if I have any rights as his eldest child to replace the headstone. Please note, his wife and I are not on good terms with each other. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

The position at law remains the same as when your father first passed away. The executor of his estate is the person who has the responsibility for the headstone. Unfortunately if she has neglected this, you would need to see if she is prepared to pay or consent to replacement. Although you don't get on with her, you would need to see if she was prepared to do anything. If she refuses, then you could take action yourself. You should first contact the organisation who looks after the cemetary-likely to be the local council, who usually look after cemetaries. You could then arrange for the new headstone to be put into place

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Chris for your answer. Another question, did she automatically become executor of his estate because she was his wife at the time? I do know that my dad did not have a will.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

When someone dies without a will, normally the surviving spouse is appointed the executor, called an administrator when there is no will. It is not automatic, but very common. She would in any event be entitled to most of the estate.

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