New Zealand Law Commission
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TE AKA MATUA O TE TURE
Wellington, New Zealand
The Law Commission is an independent, publicly funded, central advisory body established by statute to undertake the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand. Its purpose is to help achieve law that is just, principled, and accessible, and that reflects the heritage and aspirations of the peoples of New Zealand.
The Commissioners are:
The Honourable Justice Baragwanath – President
Joanne Morris OBE
Judge Margaret Lee
Denese Henare ONZM
The Director of the Law Commission is Robert Buchanan
The office is at 89 The Terrace, Wellington
Postal address: PO Box 2590, Wellington 6001, New Zealand
Document Exchange Number: SP 23534
Telephone: (04) 473–3453, Facsimile: (04) 471–0959
Report/Law Commission, Wellington, 1997
ISSN 0113–2334 ISBN 1–877187–11–9
This report may be cited as: NZLC R41
Also published as Parliamentary Paper E 31AD
23 October 1997
I am pleased to submit to you Report 41 of the Law Commission, Succession Law: A Succession (Wills) Act.
As you know this report is the Commission’s third to you this year on succession law. The earlier two concerned Homicidal Heirs (NZLC R38) and A Succession (Adjustment) Act (NZLC R39). Our work is continuing on ways that greater effect might be given to decisions about succession to ancestral property by Mäori.
As first contemplated the Commission’s project to review the law of succession also included a complete review of the Administration Act 1969. The Commission is now inclined to defer this aspect of the work for these three main reasons:
In the meantime, however, we are proceeding to research the conceptual basis of the system of intestate succession.
The need for this research is illustrated by the case where spouses have separated and divided their property by agreement or court order, but not obtained a court order for separation (sought only rarely), or for the dissolution of their marriage. Distribution on an intestacy should give effect either to the duties, or to the assumed wishes, of the intestate deceased. In this case, the existing law does neither. If either spouse dies intestate, the survivor may take a spouse’s share on the intestacy as if the division had not occurred and against what we assume the intestate would have wished.
In this report, however, the Commission recommends
The Commission recommends that Parliament enact the Succession (Wills) Act set out in this report. We consider that the enactment of the draft Act would be welcomed by all who are familiar with the law in this area.
The Hon Justice Baragwanath
The Hon Douglas Graham MP
Minister of Justice