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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22179
Experience:  37 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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Our son recently received an inheritance from his grandfather

Customer Question

Our son recently received an inheritance from his grandfather when he turned 23 years recently. He had money deposited to his account. However there has never been any documentation given to him about the amount of money. Who is responsible for supplying this the solicitor lawyer or the executor of the will. In other words how does he know he received what he was entitled to. Should he not have had a breakdown of amount taxes interest etc. He was 13 years when his grandfather passed away.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 6 months ago.
The trustees are not required by law to provide any information, although the courts have said they should as a matter of good practice, to avoid suspicions of mishandling the estate. You can get a copy of the will, from the High Court, if necessary but the accounts cannot be forced out of the trustees. If you get the will, it will show what was supposed to have been done, and I comment that usually legacies are handed over at age 18 or in older wills, at 21. So unless there was an investment which didnt mature until recently, that does seem slightly unusual. You could try asking again, pointing out that the Supreme Court has said they should share more details as a matter of good practice, and asking why the payment was at age 23
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The will did not contain the amount of money inherited!
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 6 months ago.
Thats an even better reason to ask of course. Have the lawyers given any reason why they dont want to share the information?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 6 months ago.
Do you know what the money came from-sale of assets or shares or land?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Leaving it up to the executor of the will. The money came from savings and amount went into a bank account then removed and invested in a family company the same day. However we have never been able to find out the amount.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 6 months ago.
As you must be thinking, when details such as the amount and the nature of the investment are concealed it can raise suspicions. You must be thinking that while it is possible that the investment in the family company increased the amount, it is equally possible that money was lost. Any trustee of an estate must be very prudent in their investments, which is a requirement of the Trustee Act. An investment in a privately held family company would not always be a suitable investment for a trustee. But it may be a very soundly run company, although the lack of information makes it difficult to judge the performance of the trustee.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 6 months ago.
As I mentioned, you cannot force production of the accounts. But a gentle reminder may help, or even seeking an explanation as to why they declined to produce anything

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