When someone has died
Need to know what to do when someone close to you dies? We can help you with what happens next.
What you need to know and do when a loved one passes
In the wake of a loved one’s passing it can be difficult to know what to do, where to go for help, or how to manage the many tasks and costs of distributing their estate, including their possessions.
Make sure you take the time to mourn and, if you need to, notify close friends and family, co-workers, wider relatives and acquaintances of the death so they know what’s happened.
When you’re ready, a funeral needs to be arranged. Your loved one may have left their funeral wishes in their Will, or it may be up to you to make the decisions for the service.
There are multiple ways that Public Trust can help when someone has died.
Get in touch with one of our team for advice, or discover more through our links below.
I’m the executor of a will
Learn what it means to be the executor of a Will and how Public Trust can help.
I’m the beneficiary of a will
Understand the process of settling a Will and what it means for beneficiaries.
Things you need to know.
There are several different costs involved when someone dies:
Funeral costs (average $8,000 - $10,000)
Cemetery costs for cremation and plaque, or plot and headstone
Administration & legal costs for settling the deceased’s assets
Funeral and burial costs usually have to be paid up front, and are one of the first costs to meet after the death.
There may also be other costs throughout the estate administration from other organisations such as banks, legal fees, valuers or agents.
Along with their Will, your loved one may have set up a Prepaid Funeral Trust to help assist with the cost of the funeral. If they haven’t, the funeral will usually be paid for out of their estate - the money and assets they’ve left behind - or by the family.
Our fees - whether we’re administering an estate or supporting you in your role as executor - are based on the work we do, not on a percentage of the estate assets or time elapsed.
If the situation is simple with few assets and beneficiaries, it will be quicker to manage and therefore cost less. If the situation is more complex, this can take more time and add to the overall cost of our work.
The time required to administer an estate can vary depending on the circumstances.
Generally, you can expect it to take from 4-12 months to complete, but in unique situations where there are multiple overseas assets, beneficiaries can’t be found, or a claim is made it may take longer.
Up to 9 months
All assets go to spouse and/or children and there is no property to sell
There is property to sell or a high number of assets or debt
12 months +
Where the Will is challenged by a family member, or there are complex assets like a business, or complex wishes in the Will
Need assistance notifying related organisations of someone passing?
myTrove is a free online service that assists you in notifying multiple organisations such as the Department of Internal Affairs, Inland Revenue, Banks, and Insurers in one easy form. Saving you time by reducing paperwork and removing the need to notify multiple organisations who require the same information.
Visit myTrove.co.nz and complete the 4 simple steps for free, to notify all required organisations. You can either manage the myTrove process yourself or nominate another person, or organisation as a primary contact.
Alternatively, if you would like support in dealing with the estate administration, please feel free to contact Public Trust and we will get in touch with you to advise next steps.
Public Trust and myTrove aim to help make this experience as supportive and helpful as possible.
Commonly Asked Questions
This is usually organised by the family. When there is no family or the family is unable to do this, if Public Trust is the executor or administrator we can help to make the funeral arrangements.
It’s best to check if your loved one included their funeral wishes in their Will, or any other form of documentation with Public Trust, before making the funeral arrangements. This helps ensure you are carrying out their wishes.
Call us on 0800 371 471, and we can check to see if we hold a will and when it was last updated. We can only give this information to a beneficiary or executor of a will, so we will need to ask some questions first to confirm your identity. Our customers’ privacy and confidentiality are paramount.
If there is no Will, the estate is distributed in accordance with the ‘laws of intestacy' - there are specific rules to follow, which we can help with. Find out more here.
We understand that your first priority is the funeral and saying goodbye to your loved one. Once you are ready, call us to talk about timing and with the steps we will need to take.
Under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, your inheritance is your own separate property. But if you mix it with money or assets you share with your partner, it could easily become relationship property – meaning they could be entitled to a portion of it if you split up. This is why we suggest that your inheritance is paid into an account in your sole name.
Please talk to us if you would like further advice on how to keep your inheritance separate or grow and protect it for the future.
Sometimes, the Will may state that money or assets are to be held in a trust for a period of time. This may be because a beneficiary is under 18 years of age, or because there is some set condition that must be met before the assets can be distributed.
An asset may also be held in a trust if one or more beneficiaries is given a right to use or to receive income from that asset for a certain period of time. When this right expires, the Will sets out how the asset is then to be dealt with.
When appointed to act as executor, we look at the terms of the will, any special wishes set out by the deceased in a statement of wishes, the type of assets involved as well as the needs of all beneficiaries to work out a strategy for managing the Trust and its assets. Our role is to manage the Trust on behalf of the beneficiaries, in keeping with the terms of the Will.
We review the Trust, its assets and administration strategy regularly to make sure it continues to comply with regulation, and meet the beneficiaries’ needs, and there are fees associated with the ongoing management of the Trust.
You can contact our team to talk through your situation, or you can ask your trustee to guide you through the process. They will oversee the administration from start to finish and are supported by our team of lawyers and accountants who manage all the legal and tax tasks.
Sometimes it can happen that one of the beneficiaries is also the executor. Find more information about being an executor here.