This applies when a male deceased died without a valid will, and if a grant of administration is required in order to administer his estate.

You will need to request a search of the paternities register as a preliminary step before applying for letters of administration.

However, this is not required if (a) the deceased left a surviving spouse or de facto partner who will be the only beneficiary of his estate; and (b) the estate is definitely worth less than $155,000 (not counting any ‘personal chattels’ as defined by the Administration Act 1969).

If there is another exceptional reason why a paternity search is pointless or counter-productive, the requirement may be waived. It is almost always easier to do the search than explain why an exception should be granted.

The purpose of the search is to establish whether the deceased had any New Zealand paternity orders, deeds of paternity or High Court declarations of paternity recorded against him.

You will be required to attach the results of this search to the documents you send to the High Court as part of your application for letters of administration.

You will need to pay the $37.50 search fee charged by the Department of Internal Affairs. In options (1) and (2) below, you will pay that fee direct to the Department of Internal Affairs. In option (3) below, you will reimburse Kiwilaw for that fee.

It takes about 2 to 3 weeks to get the results, once a search has been requested. The results come by mail (hard copy).

You can choose one of these methods:

1. Do it entirely yourself. Phone or email Births Deaths and Marriages (Department of Internal Affairs) for more information. Phone – NZ: 0800 22 52 52 | Outside NZ: +64 4 463 9362.

2. Use Kiwilaw’s automated interview/document which creates the relevant wording for you in a letter (Word format) and payment form that you can then download and  email to the Department of Internal Affairs requesting the required search. For this option, Kiwilaw charges an online document-creation fee of $19.55.

3. By instructing Kiwilaw to do it for you – we will contact the Department of Internal Affairs to request the search, and we will forward the results to you. For this option, Kiwilaw’s fee is $60.00.

Accurate as at 3 March 2019.