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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22303
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Thank you - I had to do a 'cut & paste' :)

Customer Question

Thank you - I had to do a 'cut & paste' :) Hi, thanks for your reply - yes Greg did have a will, his land (30 acres) with the bach & shed on it is separate property to the house which is the current major issue. His will also left the $260k ins policy to his partner (2yrs defacto). The issue surrounding the house is made difficult with the mortgage arrangement - Greg's failed bus. partnership saw the bank threatening to foreclose on the house (val $450k) so Donna helped to arrange the mortgage terms thru her solicitor and her bank - where she is an employee also. Greg did not receive independant legal advice before signing the mortgage contract. (made one year before his death) And his will was made 2 weeks before his death - he was diagnosed with liver cancer and was told he only had 2 weeks left. Thus, I do not believe he was in a 'sound state of mind' when he signed the Will either. There was a clause in the mortgage which meant the house did not have to be mentioned in the Will. I am still on good speaking terms with Donna, & so is Dylan, although the r/ship btween Donna and Greg's family has become quite difficult over the last month. After Greg died, his family got their solicitor to draw up an agreement which would allow them the first option to buy the house (on Dylan's behalf, & to keep the house in the family - Greg's family are all extremely close) should Donna ever wish to sell it in the future. Donna's lawyer advised her not to sign for some silly reason and this started the 'mess'. Donna suffers from some sort of mental health issues and she is declaring personal suffering and health issues from the emotional stress the family have caused her through 'pressuring' her. Thus, she now 'wants out' and wants to sell the house as fast as she can, and be rid of Greg's family for good. Greg's family only ever had good intentions, and I find it difficult to fathom why both parties couldn't negotiate the terms of the initial agreement a it more so that it became more suitable for both parties. They have all put me in rather difficult position because I feel the entire matter should be whats best for Greg's only son - who is my son, Dylan. Father and son had the best relationship ever - you wuld be hard pressed to find a more loving and supportive parent tahn Greg was to Dylan. I fell very sad for him, he is losing out more than anyone. So, now that you have a little more of the 'picture', is Dylan able to claim for half the insurance policy? Donna & Greg were together for only just 2 years - isn't it 3 years, when defacto partners are able to take half of their partners assets? I plan to speak with Donna and try and get her to be more reasonable with her urgent sale of the house - I hope to persuade her to rent it out for 12 months or so until I can come up with the other 2/3 of the value. I was hoping to be able to stall the sale for another month or two - if she is unwilling to negotiate nicely (due to her emotional suffering - which I actually put down to more of a 'guilty conscience' myself) and allow me additional time then can Dylan claim against the will/estate to halt her selling the property? Does your previous answer change any, now that you know a bit more about the situation? Thank you so much for taking the time to consider this and reply - I am very grateful :) Tracy
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 9 months ago.

I wonder if the next move should be to get a mediator to convene all the interested parties, and see if this can be resolved by negotiation and discussion. This will avoid litigation and wrecking family relationships and friendships. I would suggest you think about this and contact others and see if this is possible. Otherwise you will likely need to brief a lawyer in a larger city to look at a claim. That would be Christchurch of Nelson I think. But the time limit for Family Protection and Testamentary Promises is 12 months from probate, so you may be in time. But you won't have long to get this started

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