Lifelaw August Newsletter

Convert Your Cross-Lease

Composite, otherwise known as cross-lease titles, were introduced with the best of intentions in the late 1960s as an expedient and cheaper alternative for owners to build multiple structures on the same site without the complications associated with a fee simple subdivision.

As a recap, all parties on the cross-lease property own all buildings on the land and then lease back their own property from the other owners. It is the 999 year lease that gives the owner their exclusive right to occupy their flat. When the Resource Management Act 1991 came into affect, cross lease developments became subject to the same requirements which affect all other subdivisions.

The rules of occupation are spelt out in the lease. The major drawback of cross-lease titles is having to seek and obtain the consent of co-owners whenever any changes are proposed to the flat or its services.

The problems associated with obtaining agreement have never been so clearly demonstrated than following the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes when co-owners (and perhaps their Insurers) have been unable to agree repairs and replacement of flats and services.

It’s no surprise that the Law Commission has recommended the abolition of cross-lease titles altogether. It is also important to note that the Christchurch City Council recently softened their approach to applications to convert cross-lease titles into the more common fee simple in cases that previously might not have met the subdivision criteria.

Converting your title in this way may result in a boost to the property’s value and will reduce your reliance on having to obtain your neighbour’s consents.

If you’d like to know more, give one of our Lifelaw team members a call and we’ll be more than happy to discuss the process in more depth.

KiwiSaver – what happens if I pass away or get divorced?

It’s wise to prepare for the unexpected.  For example, you’ve been diligently squirrelling away savings in your KiwiSaver scheme for your retirement…. But have you thought about what would happen if your life takes an unexpected turn?

You pass away

You can rest easy knowing that KiwiSaver is an investment that is only in your name, therefore, it will be paid to your estate if you pass away.

However, if you want named beneficiaries to receive proceeds directly from your KiwiSaver scheme then you’ll need to make sure it is covered in your will.  Otherwise it will form part of your overall estate.

If you don’t have a will, you can expect the process to take a bit longer and cost more.

You become separated

A survey undertaken by Westpac indicated that 35% of people believe KiwiSaver investments accrued by an individual stays with that person in the event of a relationship split.  That’s not the case.

KiwiSaver funds are relationship property and therefore are divided, along with your other assets.

This includes your individual contributions and what is tipped in by the government and your employer. Ouch!

If you kick started your KiwiSaver before forming the relationship, then that portion is called separate property and is all yours.

Need help?

Do you have any questions about KiwiSaver, updating your will or protecting your assets? Get in touch with the Lane Neave LifeLaw team who will be more than happy to help.

The AML/CFT Act now in force

This is a further reminder that the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, also known as the AML/CFT Act, is now in force.

We have to apply the law to every client, even if we have worked with clients for a long time. It also applies to all transactions where money is received into or paid out of our trust account.

This means we are required to obtain more information from clients to verify their identity, as well as the identity of other people who may act on a client’s behalf.

We may also ask clients about the purpose of the business they are undertaking and for information about the source of their wealth.

We aim to keep the process as simple as possible and will let clients know what information we require when we receive instructions or when there’s a change in the nature of our relationship.

Visit our AML/CFT web section for more information, including the type of identification we require.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of AML/CFT Act or require any further information, please contact your usual Lane Neave Legal adviser.

Lifelaw team

If you have any queries in respect of the above, or any other Lifelaw issues, please contact a member of our Team:

Lifelaw team: Stephen Jeffery, Monica Ryan, Gerard Thwaites, Chris Anderson, Giana Fyfe, Sarah Bennett, Lily Cain, Rosemary Aitken, Sherie Adams, Cindy Thom, Vanessa Boyd, Lisa Penn.

In this edition:


When life decisions are everything.

lifelaw team

Stephen Jeffery - Christchurch private client lawyer and part of the Lane Neave Lifelaw teamStephen Jeffery

t +64 3 353 8050
m +64 21 669 925
(click to email)

Monica Ryan - Christchurch private client lawyer and part of the Lane Neave Lifelaw teamMonica Ryan

t +64 3 372 6335
m +64 21 665 286
(click to email)

Gerard Thwaites - Christchurch private client lawyer and part of the Lane Neave Lifelaw teamGerard Thwaites

t +64 3 353 8025
m +64 29 233 3447
(click to email)

Chris Anderson - Christchurch private client lawyer and part of the Lane Neave Lifelaw teamChris Anderson
Senior Associate

t +64 3 371 7690
m +64 21 65 6672
(click to email)

Giana Fyfe - Christchurch private client lawyer and part of the Lane Neave Lifelaw teamGiana Fyfe
Senior Solicitor

t +64 3 372 6385
(click to email)


Sarah Bennett - Christchurch private client lawyer and part of the Lane Neave Lifelaw teamSarah Bennett

t +64 3 372 6385
(click to email)


Lily Cain
Law Clerk

t +64 3 372 6396
(click to email)


Rosemary Aitken

t +64 3 379 3720
m +64 21 223 6327
(click to email)

Sherie Adams
Property Law Executive

t +64 3 371 7699
(click to email)


Cindy Thom
Registered Legal Executive

t +64 3 372 6304
(click to email)


Vanessa Boyd
Registered Legal Executive

t +64 3 372 6336
(click to email)


Lisa Penn
Trust & Estate Accountant

t +64 3 371 7697
(click to email)

Disclaimer: The content of these articles are general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.