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Making a will and estate administration

A will lets you say how you want your property dealt with when you die. Once you die, everything you own, and everything you owe, is called your estate. This guide tells you about making a will and how your estate is administered.

This guide covers:

  • What is a will?
  • Who can make a will?
  • When should I make a will?
  • Can a will prevent legal problems after my death?
  • What if I die without a will? (known as dying “intestate”)
  • How do I make a will?
  • Why should I see a lawyer?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What should my will include?
  • Who should I name as beneficiaries?
  • What about Māori land?
  • Does making a will restrict what i can do with my property during my lifetime?
  • Can I cancel or change my will?
  • How often should I review my will?
  • Where should I keep my will?
  • What if a will is lost?
  • What could make a will invalid?
  • Guardianship of children
  • Property (Relationships) Act
  • Enduring powers of attorney
  • Living wills and advance directives
  • Estate administration
  • Grants of probate and letters of administration
  • Duties of personal representatives
  • Claims against an estate
  • Claims by an estate
  • When can an estate be wound up and distributed?

Last updated on the 1st December 2018