Estates - Shanahans Law
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Planning, Administration & Claims

Compassion when it matters most

The team at Shanahans Law can help you with estate planning and making a will, administration of an estate or making a claim against an estate.


Estate Administration


When a person dies, everything they owned in life is known as their estate. Estate administration is the process of carrying out the deceased’s wishes as set out in their will, getting legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased, and ensuring assets are distributed as efficiently as possible in accordance with the will. If you don’t have a will, we highly recommend you contact us today to create one. Having a will can greatly reduce the chance of claims against your estate.


There are various steps involved with estate administration. The steps are generally as follows:

  • Funeral arrangements
  • Meeting with the beneficiaries of the will
  • Acknowledgment of any assets and debts
  • Obtaining probate through the High Court
  • Transferring assets and property (often to remaining partners)
  • Closing bank accounts, paying debts, tax and advertising for creditors
  • A mandatory statutory period where the terms of the will can be challenged
  • Distributing the assets and accounting for everything in a final statement

The process can take 6 to 12 months or more depending on the size and complexity of the estate.


At Shanahans Law we have a compassionate and experienced team for estate management and administration. We aim to distribute assets for our clients as quickly and easily as possible while ensuring that we respect the wishes and adhere to instructions set out in the will. We do this with understanding and empathy, as we know from personal experience it can be a trying time.


Estate Planning


The best way to plan your estate is by making a will. Every adult should have a will and it’s relatively easy to do. Having a will decreases the likelihood of running into legal complications when you die and your estate is being administered. Other parties can still make a claim against your estate, but having a will goes along to combating an unexpected result. Check out our wills page for more information and how to take the first steps in sorting out your will.


If you die without a will, known as intestate, then the Administration Act specifies how your property and assets will be distributed. Often it goes to a surviving partner and immediate family, or to the nearest living relatives. Potentially this may not have been what you or your family wished for and could result in them having to make a claim on your estate.


Claiming Against An Estate


After probate has been obtained from the high court, an estate goes through a period where individuals are able to make claims against that estate. This is more common in the instance where there is no will. There are two types of claims that can be made.


  1. Claims challenging the validity of the will – this includes that the will was not correctly witnessed, that the deceased lacked sufficient mental capacity to make a valid will, or that there was an undue influence on the deceased by a person benefiting under the will.
  2. Claims challenging the contents of the will – this can include a spouse or partner claiming their share of the property rather than accepting what is in the will, children claiming their parents have not adequately provided for them, or the deceased not having fulfilled a promise for work done by a provision in their will.


Claiming against an estate isn’t an easy process and that’s why we recommend you call us as soon as possible. We can represent you during the claim process, we have the skills and experience in estate claims and can save you money and anxiety.

To the team at Shanahans, thanks so much for your empathy, kindness, support & patience since Mum's passing. Without your help, this process would've been an absolute nightmare.
Sharon - Auckland
Need help planning, administering or claiming on an estate? Get in touch today.