The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa has made a submission on the Law Commission Issue Paper ‘Review of Succession Law: Rights to a person’s property on death’.
We agree that there is a need for a comprehensive review of succession law to ensure it is fit for contemporary Aotearoa and support many of the Law Commission’s conclusions within the Issues Paper.
Existing succession law is more than 50 years old and there has been profound social change over the past seven decades. The Commission’s reform proposals rightly reflect the need to establish a bicultural framework, in the context of a multi-cultural society, where succession law needs to accommodate different cultural norms and practices.
In particular, we support the integration of the principles of Te Tiriti into Succession Law, and specifically allowing for tikanga to determine succession where this is what whānau want. We encourage extensive consultation with Māori in respect of this.
Our submission notes that this review follows the Law Commission’s extensive review of Relationship Property law, and the Law Society considers it is essential for any succession law reform to be consistent with the reforms to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
We also believe that further work needs to be done to clarify the values and preferences of New Zealanders. Currently, significant reform of Family Provision Claims looks to be in the pipeline (looking to restrict this is favour of greater testamentary freedom), but we are not convinced that the work undertaken so far justifies such a significant departure from the existing position.
We look forward to continued involvement in reform of the law.
Links to documents
Law Society’s submission – Review of Succession Law: Rights to a person’s property on death