Lifelaw September newsletter


When life decisions are everything.

At different points in your life, you will need clear, sound advice from legal experts who help look after your best interests. One of the challenges is knowing when you need a lawyer’s help. That’s where lifelaw comes in.

lifelaw draws upon all areas of legal expertise that exist within Lane Neave. We’ll work with you and alongside you to formulate the solution you require.

Time to think about your future. Time to think about lifelaw.

Visit the Lifelaw page

Don’t underestimate the role of the executor

An important decision when making your Will is choosing who you would like your executor to be.   Believe us – it’s a big deal.

Your executors are the people who you appoint to carry out the terms of your Will, and their responsibilities cover the whole process from when you pass away until your estate is distributed. It’s an important role and crucial that you choose the right people, with the right skills, to carry out this job for you.

Oh, and it’s a good idea to give your executor a heads-up that you are naming them in your Will for this important role.

A few important tasks of the executor are:

Making arrangements for the funeral: It is your executor’s job to make sure any wishes in your Will are fulfilled along with any wishes of your family.

Probate: This is an application made through the High Court, with the assistance of the lawyer for the estate.  The granting of probate gives your executor the authority to administer your estate.

Assets and liabilities: Once probate in your estate has been granted, the executor can begin to round up the assets of your estate and sort out the liabilities. This administration of the estate includes closing the bank accounts, dealing with properties and paying any bills owing.

Accounts: An executor is required to keep proper accounts of the estate and file tax returns.

Distribution: If there is no notice of any claims against your estate after six months from the date of the grant of probate, your executor can distribute the assets of your estate to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of your Will. Of course, if claims do come up, it will also be your executor’s job to sort them out too.

As you can see, it’s a big ask. Administration of the estate assets takes time and attention to detail.  The process can be emotional for those involved and the assistance of a competent legal advisor can make all the difference .

In acting for your estate, the Lifelaw team are on hand to guide and assist your executor through the administration process and make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

Why Googling your legal issue isn’t such a good idea

Have you ever googled your symptoms when you’re feeling a bit off colour?  There’s a good chance the search results will have you fearing for your life.  The articles you read will probably also tell you to see a medical specialist.

It’s similar with law.  Most situations are unique and taking a cookie cutter approach will often end in tears.  Search results can give misleading advice that will have you worrying unnecessarily, or worse, encourage you to make a poor decision.

Like the good doctor, there’s a lot of background information related to your legal issue that will help determine the best course of action.

We find that useful nuggets of information, that might not seem important,  are often uncovered during conversations with our clients.  It’s this information that assists us in getting the outcome that is most favourable and efficient for you.

The Lifelaw team enjoy meeting with our clients, so before going to Google, call us to discuss your legal issue.

New Trusts Bill aims to change the ‘game’

New Zealand is one of the most ‘Trusted Up’ countries in the world per capita. It is estimated that well over 300,000 Trusts exist in New Zealand, operating at various degrees of professionalism.

The Trusts Bill recently introduced into Parliament seeks, amongst a number of things, to clarify and simplify core Trust principles but to also identify essential obligations for trustees so as to improve their understanding about how trusts should operate. Some of those principles/duties outlined in the Bill are as follows:

Mandatory duties:

  • A Trustee being required to know the terms of the Trust
  • A Trustee must adhere to the terms of the Trusts
  • A Trustee must act in good faith and honestly
  • A Trustee’s primary duty is to act in the interests of all beneficiaries
  • A Trustee must use the powers they have for a proper purpose.

Basic Standards

  • A Trustee must: exercise due care, skill and responsibility
    • invest wisely and prudently
    • not do things for their own benefit
    • act impartially towards all the beneficiaries of the Trust

Information Keeping

The Bill sets out the information Trustees must retain such as Trust Assets, Trustee’s decisions, variations to Trust Deeds, valuations of assets, financial statements and professional advice the Trustees have obtained.

Well run Trusts exhibit most if not all of these behaviours already so Trustees of these Trusts won’t see a great deal of difference on the passing of the Bill. However there are a number of Trusts that are running the risk of being ineffective in achieving their goals by not meeting required standards. A failure to meet these standards could expose the assets that have been settled into the Trust, to the very claims from third parties that the Trust were formed to protect.

The Bill has had its first reading and is now at the public submission stage. It is however unlikely to alter significantly from the provisions introduced.

Keep an eye out for further Lifelaw updates. We’ll keep you posted with articles, tips and suggestions as to how to effectively manage ‘your’ Trust to the ‘new’ standards required and be better equipped to deal with the changing nature of Trust law in New Zealand.

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

In this edition:


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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

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)

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.