If so you may encounter problems in the event of the death of a client. It appears as though most New Zealanders who have purchased an interest in a time-share property in Australia have had their title at the land titles office registered as tenants in common, where in most cases they should be registered as joint tenants. This seems to occur as a standard way of registration with the time-share operators.

Unfortunately as most readers would appreciate, the consequences of this method of registration can be far reaching in the event of the death of one or more of the owners.

Recently I have had an increasing number of cases where a spouse and joint owner of a time-share property had been attempting to transfer the ownership as the surviving owner. Unfortunately as the title is registered as tenants in common the requirement to enable the proper transfer is to have probate granted in New South Wales, or a reseal of the New Zealand probate. In some instances there is no probate in New Zealand, as the estate was very small. The cost of either obtaining a New Zealand grant and then resealing in New South Wales or obtaining an original grant in New South Wales would have been more than the timeshare was worth.

I have been able to negotiate with the NSW Land Titles Office to accept the transfer without probate, something of a first for New South Wales when I initially did this in 2000. We are however required to produce various affidavits and valuations. The documents also have to pass through the State Revenue Office for stamping.

Since that time I have also arranged for a transfer of title from the same owners to themselves as joint tenants. This will ensure that a death certificate is all that is required to transfer the ownership where one of the tenants dies. This is the much-preferred option as obtaining grants etc can prove very costly and delay the administration of an estate considerably.

In Queensland the requirements are a little less burdensome, in that an Exemplification is all that is required from NZ to deal with the Title, however, if no Probate has been obtained in New Zealand this can also become more complex.

As these time-shares seem to have been sold heavily in the mid to late 1980’s more and more owners are now at an age where the estate may arise! I suggest that any clients who have time-share interests in Australia review their title certificates to check the status of the tenancy where there is more than one owner. If any are found to be held as tenants in common, I would be more than happy to assist in the transfer to joint tenancy.

NZILE Conference 2011

A quick thank you to all of the legal executives who attended the recent conference and made me feel so welcome again. It is always a pleasure to be involved with the Institute and in particular to meet with Legal Executives from all over New Zealand. Thank you to Jenny Gilmore and her fellow councillors and Jo Buckton in particular for again including me in the conference.

PUBLICATION: ENVOY – The newsletter of The New Zealand Institute of Legal Executives
DATE: December 2011
AUTHOR: Andrew Johnstone, APEARS, Sydney, Australia

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