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Probate and wills

After someone dies, you need to sort out any tax or financial issues before the will is executed.

What you need to do

There are some things you need to do if you’re executing someone’s will. You can ask a lawyer for help — the cost will come out of the estate.

Apply for probate 

A will lists who gets property and money when someone dies. You need to be granted probate in court to be the will’s executor. An executor deals with the estate and hands out the property as set out in the will.

Apply for probate and get a copy of a will

Community Law — chapter about wills

If there is no will — intestacy

Tax

Contact Inland Revenue (IR) if the deceased person:

  • had a student loan
  • paid or received child support
  • had a KiwiSaver account
  • ran a business.

Guidance about contacting IR when someone has died and filing a tax or estate return for the deceased is on the IR website: 

You can also use myTrove to notify IR that someone has died. 

myTrove — Notify a death

Benefits and pensions

Contact Work and Income if the person who died was being paid a benefit, NZ Super or a Veteran’s Pension. 

You can find out more about updating benefit payments and bank account details on the Work and Income website:

Insurance and money

You’ll need to:

  • arrange for any life or funeral insurance to be paid out
  • check whether the deceased is owed any pay or superannuation from their workplace
  • talk to the deceased’s bank to freeze their accounts until the will is executed, or transfer any joint accounts to the surviving account holder
  • cancel any bills or accounts under the deceased’s name.

Cancel the deceased’s passport

To cancel the deceased’s passport, you can use myTrove or contact the Department of Internal Affairs’ passports service:

Cancel the deceased’s driver licence

Contact the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to cancel the deceased’s driver licence.

Deceased licence holders

Property

If the deceased owned a house that was registered as a joint family home, your lawyer will arrange to transfer the title to the surviving partner.

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