This applies if someone has died without leaving a valid will, and you need to apply for letters of administration. It also sometimes applies if you need to apply for probate, because they have left a will that is several years old and there may well be a later will. 

As part of the reasonable steps required to try to find a will, you may need to place a ‘will enquiry’ advertisement through the law society.

Most such notices are placed with the relevant local branch, depending on where the deceased lived. However, you can also place a notice directly in the nationwide publications: LawTalk (monthly magazine) and/or LawPoints (weekly ebulletin). Those nationwide publications are sent to all New Zealand lawyers. Those will notices are also added to the NZLS website.

Notices placed through branches are circulated electronically to lawyers within that geographical branch. They are also added to the NZLS website but are not directly notified in LawPoints.

Most branches charge less for their local notices than NZLS charges for notices placed directly in LawTalk ($115.00) or LawPoints ($86.25). The exception is Auckland/Northland branch, which charges $90 – more than for LawPoints although less than for LawTalk.

Some small branches make no charge. Most charge $28.50 or $57.00.

If the deceased lived in more than one area of New Zealand, a notice in LawPoints is usually the best option.

If the deceased lived in only one area of New Zealand, a local branch notice is usually the best option – except for Auckland/Northland, where we would recommend LawPoints instead.

You can choose one of these methods:

  1. Do it entirely yourself. Phone or email the New Zealand Law Society – national office, or branch office, for more information.
  2. Use Kiwilaw’s automated interview/document which creates the relevant wording for you in a letter (Word format) that you can then download and email to the relevant law-society branch (or LawPoints) (details provided) – requesting anyone who holds a will to contact you directly. For this option, the online document-creation fee is $19.55. You also pay the relevant law-society fee direct.
  3. Instruct Kiwilaw to do it for you – the notice will then request anyone who holds a will to contact Kiwilaw, and we will notify you of any responses. For this option, Kiwilaw’s fee is $60.00 plus any fee charged by the law society.

Information correct as at 31 December 2018.