A recent case highlights the investment required, and difficulties involved, when no Will is in place for an estate, or there is a Will but no living Executor of it.

In this woman’s case there was a Will she left appointing one of the children as sole Executor. However the Executor died shortly after his mother, without a Will of his own, leaving both his and his mother’s estates in limbo.

Another child of the deceased had to fund an application to the High Court to remove his deceased brother as the Executor of his mother’s estate, and to become the new Executor.

The usual practice when this happens is that the Executor of the first brother’s estate would also act as the Executor of the mother’s estate. However, because there was no Will for the brother, there was no Executor for the mother’s estate when he passed away.

Property held in the mother’s estate could not be sold without a person who could legally act on behalf of the estate on the sale of the property.

The Court approved the application to remove the deceased brother, and make the applicant the new Executor, under urgency, and on the basis that it was in the interests of justice to do so.

The only other beneficiary of the estate, the father of the remaining brother, consented to the application being made.

When appointing Executors under Wills it pays to make sure all the contingencies are taken care of, so the expense and delay of going to Court for an order can be avoided. An experienced lawyer will ensure that the Will-maker considers the various possibilities and draft the Will accordingly.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Shaun Cousins and Hanifa Kodirova


Please note that Rainey Collins is not contracted to provide Legal Aid, other than in the Treaty of Waitangi area.  We therefore are unable to take on any Civil or Family Legal Aid work. If you require Legal Aid in those areas, you can search the list of Legal Aid lawyers on the Ministry of Justice website.