The aim of this article is to provide a guide for making a Will and the procedure of estate administration when the deceased is domiciled in a country other than New Zealand, a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland.
Types of property
There are two types of property. The first type is immovable property, which includes land and anything that is fixed to the land, such as buildings. The second type of property is movable property, which would include anything that is not immovable property such as bank accounts, shares in a company, motor vehicles. The procedure for estate administration in New Zealand will depend on the types of property the deceased owned in New Zealand at the time of his or her death.
If assets in New Zealand include land or real estate, a Will must be prepared in accordance with New Zealand law. For a Will to be valid under New Zealand law, the Will must be in writing, signed by the will-maker and witnessed by two independent people in the will-maker’s presence and in the presence of each other. The Will should also be dated at the same time it is signed. (Wills Act 2007, s 11)
If assets in New Zealand do not include land and comprise only bank accounts, shares or other movable property, the Will must be made in accordance with the law of the country where:- (a) the Will was signed; or (b) the deceased was domiciled when the Will was signed; or (c) the deceased was originally domiciled (the Will must be made in accordance with the law in force at the time the Will was signed); or (d) the deceased was domiciled at the time he/she died. (Wills Act 2007, s 22(5))
For information on the procedure for estate administration in New Zealand, please refer to our article here.