Top 5 property tips before signing that agreement / what happens to my digital assets when I pass away?

July Lifelaw 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.

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Top 5 property tips before signing that agreement

Buying a property can be an emotion based decision and is often made quickly.  Our tips below will help you avoid issues down the track by getting it right up front. 

  1. Do a second inspection
    You may have been wearing your rose-tinted glasses the first time you viewed the property because you finally found one that ticked all the boxes after looking for so long. It’s wise to arrange a second viewing with the agent outside of the open home hours. This will give you time to have a good old poke around and ensure it’s the one that you want. It’s also a good idea to take a look at different times of the day.
  2. Check for maintenance issues 
    This can be done by being upfront and asking the agent and arranging a visit from a qualified builder. Maintenance issues can be pricey and ongoing (not to mention back-breaking). Unless you have deep pockets, it is best to check these out first.
  3. Do your research 
    Before thinking about how many zeroes to place at the end of the purchase price, get a valuation. Ring your insurer to make sure the property is insurable and to see how much the premiums will be. Make a call to the local council to check whether works are going to be undertaken in the area as that may effect the value and liveability of the property.
  4. Sort the $$
    Contact your lender to ensure that you have enough cash in the bank to complete the purchase. If it is an investment property, find out about potential tax issues and make sure you have a bit of extra money stashed away in case you don’t find tenants quickly.
  5. Talk to us
    Before you sign, not after! While most agreements are conditional, it is much easier (and cheaper) if you have us run the ruler over the Agreement before you sign the dotted line.  It can be harder to get out of a conditional Agreement than you think…

What happens to my digital assets when I pass away?

Our digital footprint is spread across a number of different digital platforms and technology is advancing at a rapid rate.   More and more information, memories and property are now stored online.  Where  once physical documents, files, books and albums were the norm, these have now been replaced with online accounts, digital storage devices, e-readers, social media accounts, Spotify and the like.  The days of having physical collections such as books, CD’s or records are now at an end.

As this online storage increases have you thought about how to handle the digital legacy that you will leave when you pass away? This legacy being the digital footprint that you create during your lifetime.  An interesting article written by Bianca Muller, for the benefit of the New Zealand Law Society, outlined how digital assets can be broken down into three main categories:

      1. Business digital assets with monetary value;
      2. Personal digital assets with a monetary value; and
      3. Personal digital assets with sentimental value.

Digital assets with a clear financial value need to be accounted for, not only when a deceased’s Estate is being gathered (administered) but at an earlier stage when a Will and/or a business plan is being prepared.  It is therefore an important time to think about what digital assets you have in hand and what they are worth.

From a practical perspective, when preparing your Will it might be a good idea to have passwords held in trust with your solicitor, or to put an alternative system in place so that the monetary or sentimental value of your digital assets can be easily accessed by the beneficiaries of your Estate. From a business perspective, it is just as important that a surviving business partner is able to access a co-directors digital assets that relate to the company, should the need arise.

When updating your next Will we would advise that you consider what digital assets you own and in what category (pursuant to the above list).  These could be incorporated into your Will instructions and will negate any issues in accessing these assets should you not be around to do so.

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

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