Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

My father is heartbroken as he intended to leave the family home to my brother and had a Will made up over thirty years ago stating this but now his Lawyer has told him that legally he cannot favour one child as the others will have a legal right to break the Will and says he should make a new Will.

His father left my father in his Will and even though there were seven in the family; nobody was upset by the decision.

All my siblings are wealthy in their own right; all greatly assisted by my parents throughout the years so they want for nothing.

What should my father do as he is very upset by the harshness of his Lawyer who just happens to be the Lawyer for two of my siblings so surely there is a conflict of interest and I believe he should have pointed my Father in another lawyer’s direction?


Aunty S responds


An Estate only kicks in when one dies.

Quite simply, your father can do what he likes with his property and money up until his death.

Thank goodness he has a sensible daughter; trust me my dear I will put you on the right track so you can help your father achieve what he wants to happen when he dies.


First off, go back to the Family Lawyer or find a new one who will listen, and ‘Instruct’ said Lawyer to put the house into Joint Tenancy Ownership with your brother and father as owners.  There is not too much paperwork involved.

A Joint Tenancy will see the property; when your father dies, transfer to your brother. The house will not be part of your father’s Estate so your siblings have no legal claim on it.

This is the only viable solution to your father’s dilemma.

There are two main types of ownership:

Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.

Do not allow the Lawyer to convince your father to put the house into Tenants in Common as your father’s interest in the property would then be included in his Estate and your brother would end up being a co-owner instead of owning it outright which defeats the purpose of what your father wants to happen.

Hence the incorrect ownership structure of a property can have serious consequences.

Contact me if you need more info.

Note: I am referring to New Zealand Law.

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