Explaining the will

A will is a legal document that states what is to happen to a person’s belongings and assets after their death. A solicitor is required to establish a will’s validity and to ensure probate is granted, which means legal permission is given to carry out the will’s instructions. Sometimes there can be delays as the will’s validity is checked.

If there is no will or a will cannot be found, a person is said to have died intestate. A lawyer, or a trustee company such as the Public Trust can help a family/whānau to deal with this situation. To contact the Public Trust office, phone 0800 371 471 or go to Public Trust’s website.

One or more people may be named in the will as the executor/s. An executor has the legal responsibility of carrying out the instructions of the will, and for sorting out the private affairs of the person who has died.

If you are named executor and feel unable to deal with these matters, a solicitor can advise you, or will do this task, as will any trustee company. Sorting out personal affairs may take a long time, often between 3-12 months, and may involve costs.