Susan was recently appointed an Executor of her sister Anna’s estate.  Anna had relocated to New Zealand from the United Kingdom and had lived in New Zealand for twenty years.  Susan still lived in the United Kingdom and was therefore an “Overseas Person” for the purposes of the Overseas Investment Act. 

Overseas Persons are now excluded from being able to acquire an interest in residential land in New Zealand without consent from the Overseas Investment Office. 

This raised a potential complication for Susan during the administration of Anna’s estate as Susan needed to be transferred the residential property by way of transmission, to enable her to then transfer the property to the beneficiaries of the Will. 

Regulation 40(1)(b) of the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005 will generally exempt the transfer of residential property to the beneficiary from the Executor, following transmission, from requiring consent. Overseas Persons, as beneficiaries of Estates, are able to acquire residential land in that limited circumstance without consent.

No such exemption exists for the first step - the transmission to an overseas Executor. Equally, no clear consent pathway exists which will permit a transmission either.

The Overseas Investment Office has acknowledged this gap in the legislation and has provided a streamlined exemption pathway for transmissions to Executors. The process involves completing a short application form and submitting it electronically to the Overseas Investment Office.

This exemption should be sought before Probate or Letters of Administration are granted, and provided the criteria are met, a decision should be made by the Overseas Investment Office within ten working days. There is no fee for the exemption.

Susan was granted consent to receive the land by transmission quickly, and without cost, and was able to continue with the distribution of her sister Anna’s estate.

If you have any questions about your eligibility to buy or receive residential land in New Zealand, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.