Wills and Trusts

Family Trust Wills LawyersSmith and Partners understands the importance of wanting to protect your family and your assets. Whether you simply need a will or powers of attorney drafted, or are in need of more in depth estate planning, our extensive experience with wills, powers of attorney, family trusts and estates enables us to provide you with the right advice for your situation.

We will take the time to explain everything involved in plain language so that you have the right plan in place to protect your assets, reduce stress on your family and minimise the chances of future disputes.

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Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate planning is the process of developing a plan to protect and manage your assets while you are alive and after your death. There are multiple legal options available to develop your estate plan, and it is important we discuss your assets and your potential liabilities to develop a robust estate plan that is designed to suit your specific needs. Your estate plan may be as simple as a well drafted will, or it may extend to trusts and relationship property agreements designed to protect your assets.

Our experienced estate planning lawyers can assist you with:

Family Trust Law

Family trusts can be an excellent way to protect your assets for the long term so that you and your family can enjoy financial security now and in the future. But it is important that a trust is set up for the right reasons, administered correctly and that you understand the legal implications.

Family trusts are used to protect assets from creditors, relationship property claims and claims against your estate. Trusts are also a useful way of managing assets for intergenerational wealth.

Our family trust lawyers' extensive experience with family trusts including family trust litigation means that we can help you understand whether a family trust is right for your individual situation, and ensure that it is managed correctly – ensuring that your assets are protected. We understand how to make trust law work for you when it comes to tax liability and asset protection. The right advice now will help reduce the stress on your family both emotionally and financially.

Our experienced trust lawyers can assist you with:

  • Setting up a family trust
  • Drafting trust deeds
  • Memorandums of Wishes
  • Deeds of Distribution
  • Family trust administration and management
  • Independent professional trustee services
  • Trust reviews
  • Adding and removing trustees
  • Advice on trustee responsibilities 
  • Gifting to a family trust
  • Making distributions from a family trust
  • Buying and selling trust assets
  • Resettlement/Winding up a family trust
  • Family trust disputes
  • Charitable Trusts

Wills Lawyers Auckland

A will is essential so it gives certainty to the distribution of your assets on death. It is imperative you receive quality advice when drafting your will. Mistakes at the time of drafting your will can result in costly court and estate administration costs for your family after your death, or increase the chances claims being made against your estate.

Our experienced wills lawyers will ask the right questions to make sure you use the right vehicle for planning your estate, meet your legal obligations and help ensure your wishes are respected.

Modern families can be complicated. It is important that you address previous relationships, new relationships, step-children or grandchildren. Do you want to leave someone a life interest in a property? Do you want to hold assets in trust for minors? Do you have a family trust?

Our extensive background in estate litigation means that we know what can happen when a will is challenged. We have the experience to help you ensure that your wishes are complied with and that you meet your legal obligations.

We can assist you with:
 

  • Drafting your will
  • Advice on choosing executors
  • Updating/reviewing your will
  • Advice on dealing with previous relationships
  • Advice on dealing with new relationships
  • Life interests
  • Minor children and appointing guardians and/or holding assets in trust
  • Bequests to charity
  • Advice on the effect of marriage, separation and divorce
  • Leaving children out of a will
  • Advice on potential estate claims
  • Understanding how you own your assets
  • Dealing with businesses, farms and family trusts

Powers of Attorney Lawyers

Our team of power of attorney lawyers can prepare your enduring powers of attorney and provide advice on the special conditions you should include to help your wishes to be followed, and to prevent family disputes later on.

Everyone should have enduring powers of attorney in place. An accident or illness could strike at anytime and if a power of attorney is not in place before this happens, your family will be unable to access assets or bank accounts, pay bills or make decisions about your health care and where you will live.

You will need two separate kinds of enduring power of attorney. An enduring power of attorney for personal care and welfare allows your attorney to make decisions about your health services and where you live if you become mentally incapacitated.

A power of attorney for property allows someone to manage your personal property – assets, bank accounts, bills etc. A power of attorney for property can be restricted to come into place only when you are incapacitated, or can be active immediately, allowing you to provide someone else with the ability to sign documents on your behalf if you are out of the country.

If you become incapacitated without an enduring power of attorney the process for your family of applying to the Court to be appointed guardians under the Protection of Personal & Property Rights Act is expensive and time consuming.(learn more about PPPR applications here)


Our skilled team can assist you with:

  • Advice on whether you need enduring powers of attorney
  • Advice on how to choose your attorneys
  • Advice on the restrictions you can add to your power of attorney
  • Drafting Enduring Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Welfare
  • Drafting Enduring Powers of Attorney for Property
  • Assistance with Power of Attorney disputes 

Living Wills / Advanced Directives

A Living will or advanced directive gives you the opportunity to communicate your wishes in what medical treatment you would like to receive, or to refuse in the event that you are unable to express those wishes yourself. 

These documents are usually prepared in preparation for the end of life stages, whether you are of an age where they may become relevant or if you are facing a potentially terminal illness. 

They are often used in conjunction with an enduring power of attorney for personal care and welfare – providing further guidance for your attorney and for your doctors. Your power of attorney cannot request the refusal of life saving treatment on your behalf, but an advanced directive can.

Our skilled team can assist you with: 

PPPR Applications

What happens if someone becomes mentally incapacitated through illness or injury and they do not have enduring powers of attorney in place? Before you are able to act on behalf of the incapacitated person, you will need to make an application to the Court under the Protection of Personal Property Rights Act (PPPR).

We can prepare an application to the Court for someone to be appointed as a welfare guardian and/or property manager.

There are limited time frames for orders; we can also assist with applications for further orders where previous orders are set to expire.

Our experienced team can help you with:  

  • Applications to be appointed Property Manager
  • Applications to be appointed Welfare Guardian
  • Applications for further orders where previous orders set to expire

Learn more about:

Estates

Our skilled estate administration and litigation team can help you with applying for probate and where a valid will exists, or for applying for letters of administration for intestate estates where there was no will and the process of administering the estate through to distributing the estate assets and paying final tax returns.

Our estate litigation team regularly acts for beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries who wish to contest an estate, and for executors and beneficiaries who are defending against an estate claim.

Click here to learn more about our comprehensive estate administration and estate litigation services.

 

Wills and Trusts EXPERTS
Peter SmithHead
Peter Smith
Partner
p. +64 9 837 6882
Carolyn RansonHead
Carolyn Ranson
Senior Associate
p. +64 9 837 6891
Wade HansenHEad
Wade Hansen
Partner
p. +64 9 837 6885
Jennifer EdwardsHead
Jennifer Edwards
Legal Executives
p. +64 9 837 6889
Dawn FullamHead
Dawn Fullam
Legal Executives
p. +64 9 837 6833
Dawn FullamHead
Dawn Fullam
Legal Executives
p. +64 9 837 6833

 

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