FAQ

Should everyone have a Will?
If you do not have a Will when you die, then the ongoing costs and hassles of administering your Estate are enormous, costly and time protracted.Once you turn 18, particularly if you have any assets, you should have a Will but certainly once you are married. Upon buying your first home, this would be the very latest upon which you should have a Will.The cost of a standard Will is minimal.

Should I have a Trust?
The modern approach is for people to divest themselves of assets into a Trust and as such, your personal assets are protected from creditors, possibly Government institutions and the like or from suits from outside parties or corporations.There are basically two types of Trust and these are a Family Trust or a Trading Trust. A Family Trust would generally hold your home and the Trading Trust would generally hold buisness or financial assets that provide an income.We provide a free service whereby if you are thinking of forming a Trust, we will give you a free first attendance and obtain all of your details. We will give you a free written report and there is no obligation to proceed, or any charge, unless you in fact proceed with any suggested programme. Feel free to telephone.

My partner and I are living together – do we need a Relationship Property/Contracting Out Agreement?
We strongly recommend that before any couple move in together and particularly if one has assets of their own, a Relationship Property Agreement/Contracting out Agreement should be completed forthwith and preferably before you in fact cohabit.If you are living together for three years or more then in the absence of an Agreement, the starting point is that your assets are split 50/50 (as a general concept).  The standard premise is that the longer you leave it before completing a Contracting Out Agreement, the more difficult they become and stresses are put on a relationship when Agreements are sought at a later stage.

My partner and I are splitting up … do I need a Lawyer?
If you have any relationship property, then you certainly do need a Lawyer upon any separation. We find that the longer matters are left, the more difficult they become and generally more costly to resolve. If you are thinking of parting and want to ascertain your rights and responsibilities, then we are only a telephone call away and it initially costs nothing to ask or enquire by telephone.

A company owes me money – how do I get it back without spending lots of money on lawyer’s fees?
If a Company owes you money, then the starting point would be to issue a Statutory Demand which would give then a very limited time to pay the money otherwise you could proceed with the winding up of the Company. If the Company owes you a small amount of money, then in New Zealand, it is fairly uneconomic to try and recover it but there are ways and means and we are as always only a telephone call away for some general advice in this sort of situation.

How do we charge?
We give quotes for work such as, Agreement for Sale and Purchase of property or businesses or company formation, but when work cannot be quoted upon, then charge out rates are applicable for each inividual Solicitor. These rates are available by telephone or email.

Do you do Legal Aid?
This firm does not undertake legal Aid work. However, in all instances when anyone approaches us in need of Legal Aid, we will invariably refer them to a Lawyer or Lawyers that we are  aware of that undertake Legal Aid work or refer them to the Auckland District Law Society for a list of such practitioners. However, we very often carry fees through to fruition rather than billing monthly or on an ongoing basis and therefore, as Legal Aid is often just a loan from the Government, it can be more effective and efficient to take advantage of this facility if availed to you by Bruce Dell Law. Once again, you only need to telephone Bruce Dell to discuss matters and he will guide you through the process suitable or appropriate for your needs.

Can I ring and discuss if I need to see a lawyer without having to pay money first?
Yes, you can telephone Bruce Dell at the first instance at any time for some general advice concerning your problem and he will guide you through your problem and assist you in the best way forward and how your problem would be resolved with the minimum cost and best possible outcome.

When I buy a house, when do I tell my lawyer?
We strongly recommend that you ring your lawyer before you sign anything to ensure that what you sign is what you think you are signing.  It is very easy for you to get your real estate agent (or in the event of a private sale, yourselves) to either fax or email a copy of the contract to your lawyer who can look at it very quickly and give you an answer before signing.  By not contacting your lawyer at that time, you may well bind yourself to a contract that you did not intend and issues may arise that can be difficult to resolve, and as you will appreciate, resolving those issues is time and money and avoidable if you talk to your lawyer first.

When I need to borrow money, when do I need to involve my lawyer?
In most cases, people these days contact their banks for a loan without involving lawyers, which is fine.  If you are dealing with a main trading bank, then this is ok and the Bank will send instructions to your lawyer as soon as the loan is approved to proceed from then on in.  If however, you are looking at borrowing money from a second or third tier Lender, or a finance company or an individual, then we strongly recommend you contact your lawyer before formally agreeing to anything, so that we can advise the risks and pitfalls in what you are proposing to do.  It is always cheaper for you to ring us first, before getting into a situation you want out of.

When should I appoint an attorney to look after my affairs?
It is very important that a lot of thought goes into who you would appoint to look after your affairs, if for example: you are unwell, incapacitated or overseas and needed somebody to act on your behalf.  This needs to be somebody you trust and can rely upon.  You can appoint an attorney at anytime and if you are travelling a lot then now is a good time.  If you think your health is deteriorating then that is also a good time.  You can limit the role of the attorney to specific jobs only or you can leave it general and open ended.  Again, talk to your lawyer as soon as possible to decide what best suits you.  However, we would suggest people should definitely contemplate powers of attorney at say 50 years of age.  There are two types of powers of attorney namely, one for property and one for personal care and welfare.

If I want to lease commercial property, when do I seek legal advice?
When you find premises you wish to lease, then it is important you contact your lawyer before an Agreement to take a lease is signed, so that the lawyer can advise what the Lease itself will have in it, as this is not normally all disclosed in the “Agreement to Lease”.  At such time the lawyer can also assist you on  whether or not guarantees will be required and this needs to be negotiated from the outset otherwise normally the standard term of an Agreement to Lease may require Directors of a company taking a Lease to guarantee the Lease.  Issues such as who pays who’s costs can also be addressed, and other provisions of significance can be explained and dealt with before you are bound by terms of a Lease that you may not otherwise be happy with.

Can my neighbour make me replace a boundary fence?
Unfortunately, yes there are situations where your neighbour can make you replace a boundary fence, however proper procedures must be undertaken.

What about trees?
Before cutting trees that form a boundary or replacing a boundary fence speak to your lawyer as to who is responsible for what.