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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22977
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My brother died intestate in 2009. The Lawyer handling the

Customer Question

My brother died intestate in 2009. The Lawyer handling the case refuse to release his estate to my sister and I ..his full siblings...because he claims that our half sibling who has a different father is entitled to equal shares of my brothers estate. If he was my fathers son as well with a different mother, then we would all be half siblings and would be entittled to equal shares. To me ,the 1969 Administation act is saying exactly that, but NZ lawyers seem to have difficulty in interpreting it as such. Their interpretation is that there is no distinction between half siblings and full siblings. If so where is it written that this is so? NSW Australia has changed this law in 2010 (no distinction between siblings) has NZ done the same?? and when? I refused to sign the papers which was stating that he was my sibling when infact he isn't. he is my half sibling!
JA: Since laws vary from place to place, what state is this in?
Customer: New Zealand
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

Section 77 of the Administration Act says in this case-

(6) No husband, wife, civil union partner, or surviving de facto partner, no issue, and no parents, but 1 or more brothers or sisters (whether of full or half blood)

All of the estate is held on the statutory trusts for the 1 or more brothers or sisters

This does mean that the half sibling is entitled to a share

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
are you saying that the NZ law is that, there is no distinction between half blood and full blood?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

In this situation, that is the correct statement of law as described in the Administration Act

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The rules of Intestacy in The Administration Act 1969 is a simplified form of the rules which only sets out the order of who will recieve the property and in what proportion.
The intestacy rules in New Zealand remain as it currently is and distributions to relatives is “per stirpes”. The degree of blood relationship to the Intestate.
Because we share the same degree of blood to the intestate we would share equally. a half blood shares an unequal degree of blood relationship to the intestate so how is it possible that he shares equally with the full blood??
The words “full or half-blood” is a reference to having both parents in common, or having one parent in common. Why would the law mention the distinction between the siblings? If as you say the law does not distinguish between the Two??
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

I assume the law was passed in this form because Parliament wanted half siblings to have the same rights as full siblings, and this was specifically set out to ensure this was clear

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
34;Accordingly. Mr Beattie submitted, the Administration Act was not intended to replace the common law and contained no major innovations. He submitted that the historical position that intestate succession was limited to blood relatives remained. Had the legislature wished to widen intestate legislation, it could have referred to “brothers and sisters”, without the reference to “whether of full or half blood”. He submitted that the fact that the legislature had not done this supported his submission that “blood” retains this historical meaning. Thus, he submitted, the proper construction of s 77 cl 6 is that succession will be to blood siblings only."So it appears from this Case Law, that it is not as clear as it looks!
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.
That is a quotation from a case. If you provide the citation I can comment after reading this
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Grant v McDermott [2014] NZHC 360 (4 March 2014) The case not really relavant to my question. but there was a lot of discussions refering to the construction of section 77 cl 6. which is why I question your (as well as other lawyers) interpretation of the act.
. Define whether: which one of the two (whether of full blood or half blood) you would find that definition in any dictionary.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

Having read the decision, my views have not changed. Your half sister is still entitled to an equal share of the estate. Half sister means the same as half blood. This term"half blood" is perhaps an old fashioned term, but simply means that children of full blood share two parents, and children of half blood share one parent. I dont have any doubt about that

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Intestacy rules in new Zealand are based on direct descendancy. How does that fit in with your decision. Half blood siblings are not direct descendants.
You have not provided one single reason why you stand by your descision.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

I think you want someone to tell you that you are right, which I will not do, if I do not agree. Whether the person is a descendent is irrelevant to whether they are of half or full blood. The factor to decide whether they get a share is the half blood, but of of course they share one ancestor, either the mother or father and therefore descend from one or both

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Not really, The case from which the citation came from throws a lot of doubt on your translation of the act.
Do you think they do not know what they are talking about?
As ordinary citizens, we cannot access information that is privy to lawyers, so if a lawyer plucks anything from out of thin air we are expected to believe it?
Half blood only share one ancestor(whether mother or father) they cannot share both. So, just like the Admin Act you have to choose whether he shares the mother or the father as an ancestor. There is a big difference..but you know that already!
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.
It doesn't matter if they share the mother or the father, as long as they share one parent. The decision is about whether adoption cuts the biological ties and does not affect your situation. You don't need to choose which parent is shared as long as one is shared
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Fine> Thanks
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 8 months ago.

Am I missing something in your question? You clearly don't agree with my answer, but I may have misunderstood you.