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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22698
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My husband died 6 months ago, we were separated at the time.

Customer Question

Hi, my husband died 6 months ago, we were separated at the time. His lawyer has said she wouldnt stand in my way to apply to be the administrator of his estate. 2 weeks before he died he spilt our joint property in to separate titles and put a caveat on it. How may this effect my ability to be appointed administrator? Thanks
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: NEw Zealand
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no formal separation orders had been filed by either of us
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Yes his will was unsigned so he died intestate. however he named a friend to execute his will...how does that fit considering his will was unsigned?
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

You could still apply to be administrator of the will even if you were separated, if there is no one else available to administer the estate. But if you are concerned about being impartial, you can appoint someone else. If you want to be appointed, then you should instruct your lawyer to make the usual application. If his lawyer has said that she won't oppose the appointment, then you should do so.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
What potential conflicts of interest may I face if appointed administrator and how could this be used against me by a contending interested party to apply for the administration role?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

The person who may otherwise inherit your husband's share, could object to you being appointed as being impartial, because you have an interest in preserving your own share of the estate.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
My foremost interests are for my children and or course my own. If someone also wants to be administrator does it automatically go to the high court? if so what needs to be proven or disproven on my behalf?
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Is point 60 of the Adminstration Act 1969, CAVEATS:
Is the caveat he put on the sale of our house anything to do with this CAVEAT?
Does the house caveat put me at risk to become adminstrator?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

Any application to administer an estate is filed in the High Court. The caveat he has filed is however a different sort of caveat from that in the Administration Act, which is intended to prevent administration of a will, on the grounds that the will is defective in some respect. Without seeing the caveat on the property I am unsure why that has been lodged, but it is a stop on registration against the title to the land. It will need to be removed at some stage, but you should get comprehensive legal advice from your own lawyer on the application for administration of the estate, which is not something I would suggest you can do yourself. Similarly, the caveat will need to be looked at. If you were married for more than three years, then the estate will be divided equally in any event under the Property Relationships Act. If the children are his children, then his estate will pass partly to you and partly to them

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
we have been married for over 25yrs when we separated, the children are ours. I have read the legal requirements for administrating his estate as he died intestate.My concern is how to reply/respond to anyone that may challenge my becoming administrator. What legal protections do I have? Thanks
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

Those persons who have an interest in the estate are you and the children. Now that I understand that the children are his, then I would say it is even more appropriate that you be the administrator of the estate, because you would be protecting the interests of the children. Even though you have been separated, it would be difficult for anyone to challenge your appointment. If you are appointed by the High Court, which is the standard procedure, then you would be protected because your interests, and those of the children are really the only interests involved in the estate where there is no will. Do you have a concern that someone else may challenge your appointment? Who would that person be?

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
My husband appointed an old friend as trustee and executor on his will, even though the will was not signed.
I believe he may be the one to contest it. Its all rather a bit of a conspiracy, I dont actually believe my husbands unsigned will reflected his real intentions, I believe he was manipulated to included particular clauses.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

If the will was not signed, then you need to apply for letters of administration because the will is not valid. When you apply for letters of administration, this is not done as a public application in open court. The papers are filed with the High Court, and are not sent to anybody else. So my suggestion is, that you should make the application, and if this old friend wants to challenge the grant of letters of administration to you, he would need to spend a serious amount of money to do so. And, without a will, the estate will pass to you and the children in any event so making the application to oppose the grant to you would be seen by the court as a waste of time.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
I believe he owed money to this friend and this was his way of squaring it up with him. I also know there are other financial interests/investments my husband had hidden from me and this too would be accessible to this person should he become administrator. After we split I found evidence of a number of other bank accounts he had held secretly. Perhaps thats where the motivation sits for the friend.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

You should just apply for letters of administration. If your husband's lawyer does not oppose, this should happen without any difficulty, and you should do so promptly to get the estate wound up. If this friend is owed money, he will need to make a claim to the estate. That is another reason for getting the application made, because if he does not claim against the estate within six months of the grant, he will miss out. If he does deal with this within time, then any claim will need to be dealt with from the assets of your husband's estate.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Ok, thank you very much for your advice.Is this chat open for the next 7days or does it end when we finish messaging?Really appreciate the straight talk, the Administration Act was so difficult to comprehend lol.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

Administration of estates is a complicated area of law. But an experienced lawyer will be able to navigate through these difficulties without too much trouble.

You can keep the chat open, or rate when you are ready.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Cheers, ***** ***** keep it open for awhile thanks
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 15 days ago.

No problem

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