New Zealand has no official register of wills. To assist lawyers and the public in finding wills that may be held by lawyers, the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa publishes will notices in LawPoints - our email newsletter sent every Thursday to all registered lawyers across the country.
If you know the area where a will is likely to have been made, a notice can be placed in the local Law Society branch newsletter. You can find their contact details here.
All will notices placed in LawPoints are also published on our website in a dedicated section. Will notices placed in LawPoints take the form of a link to the notice on the website.
You will need to provide us with:
Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this information, we can work with you to identify the most important details to increase the likelihood of finding a will.
We prefer this information to be provided via email. This means we can copy it straight into our channels which minimizes the chance of any details being wrong.
If attaching your request, or the information you’re providing to an email please use a word document rather than a PDF.
Will notices typically follow this template:
[Name of deceased]
Would any lawyer holding a will for the above-named, late of [town or address], [occupation], born on [date of birth] who died on [date of death], please contact [lawyer’s name]:
Email: [email address]
Phone: [phone number]
The cost for placing the notice is $75.00+GST ($86.25) for LawPoints and $50.00+GST ($57.50) for branch newsletters. This cost is for one placement in the newsletter of your preference. After that, the notice remains available on our website.
Will notices are uploaded on our website in preparation for inclusion in LawPoints being sent on Thursday evening. Deadline to receive request is Wednesday 4pm for lawyers and Tuesday 4pm for members of the public.
The law firm, lawyer or individual who places the notice will be the main contact for any inquiries. The Law Society doesn’t manage responses to will notices.
The feedback we have received is that law firms wait two to four weeks after publication of a will notice before continuing with their estates’ administration processes.
The Ministry of Justice has further information about applying for probate and getting a copy of a will and the Community Law Foundation also hosts information about making a will and the process for executing it.