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Take care - it's easy to pay more than you need, for estate administration (article published in Seasons Magazine, March 2019) Take care - it's easy to pay more than you need, for estate administration (article published in Seasons Magazine, March 2019) Take care - it's easy to pay more than you need, for estate administration (article published in Seasons Magazine, March 2019)

Short article outlining different options for estate administration, from DIY through to fully done by a lawyer. Emphasises the need for executors to ask about the likely fees before giving instructions, because of the wide variation in fees for the same work charged by different New Zealand lawyers.

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Why pay $1500+ for probate of a will, when it can be done for $690?

Through her firm (Kiwilaw), Cheryl Simes uses world-leading online interview and document-creation software to save time and costs for executors and families. Probate - standard fee is $490 unless there are complications - you also pay the $200 High Court fee direct.

Nationwide service - easily available because the work is done online, and I courier the documents to you with full instructions. If any issues arise, I sort them out. (More details on website.)

FREE to SuperGold Card holders who use Kiwilaw's probate service - 'Kiwilaw's Guide to Estate Administration' (Aug 2019) - otherwise $49.
'I thought I'd let you know my probate in common [form] was processed and returned from the high court. ...Thank you for such a supportive, and simple to follow process. With such an affordable and reasonable fee.' (Hawkes Bay client, August 2019)

'My Mum passed away in May of this year and I needed help to prepare for Probate. The various quote from lawyers ranged from $1000 to $2500 which I find excessive. I find Kiwilaw on line and contacted Cheryl Simes. Cheryl thorough instructions and guidance made the experience in this difficult time easier to cope with. I would highly recommend Kiwilaw to anybody.' (Wellington client, August 2019)

'I'm just phoning to say thank you very much for all your help and support at that time. I won't forget that. Thank you very very very much, Cheryl.' (Voicemail from North Island client, July 2019.)

'I live in the USA and settled my mom's estate by working with Cheryl Simes of Kiwilaw. Cheryl was very thorough, explained the probate process well, and always kept me appraised of the information flow between my mother's USA attorney, the investment company that held the estate and the New Zealand High Court. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law made what could have been a very difficult process much easier for me to negotiate. I would recommend Cheryl to anyone in need of settling a New Zealand estate.' (Florida client, July 2019)

I’m happy to advise I received probate last week.  I’m super happy with your service, it saved our family several thousand dollars in lawyers fees for administering an extremely modest estate and straightforward will. My grandmother would be very pleased about the situation I think. (South Island client, May 2019)

‘You made it very straightforward…’Many, many thanks for your speedy, prompt and professional attention to this matter. I was dreading it but you made it very straightforward and not daunting at all!' (UK client - reseal grant of letters of administration, April 2019)

'I just wanted to let you know that Probate has now been received (in 5 weeks which is exactly within your estimation). Thank you for supplying the necessary documentation and instructions which I managed to follow with a little order and time. I appreciate your efficient and prompt attention, with clear, precise and detailed folder of work which could be understood and implemented to achieve the desired result. Thanks for offering this nimble Probate service to New Zealanders.' (Steven, Auckland, April 2019)

‘Just wanted to let you know that I just received our approved probate from the high court in the mail two months after submission. I am very happy as we were not required to clarify anything or make any amendments which is a testament to your wonderful service.’ (Probate client, Auckland, March 2019)

'This email is to let you know I received the documentation from the High Court today so I can administer dad’s estate.
Thank you very much, a stressful situation made easy.' (Probate client, Lower Hutt, March 2019)

‘Thank you for your services, the process was straightforward and we would definitely recommend you to others.’ (Probate client, March 2019)

‘Cheryl charged for what seemed amazingly little time to produce the large number of documents necessary for Probate of my deceased wife’s Will and Transmission by Survivorship of her share of our home. Clearly her system must be very efficient. With very adequate covering notes, the documents were not difficult to complete and the witnessing by a friendly Justice of the Peace was even for free! Thank you Cheryl – should the occasion arise, I would suggest your services to somebody who might be in need of such.’ (EV11, March 2019)

‘We had to apply for Probate after our Mum passed away. We decided to go through Kiwilaw, as our lawyers quoted approximately $2000 plus costs for what seemed a very straightforward probate, not to mention the fact that some lawyers take their time processing this.
Cheryl was very helpful, and talked me through the process very well. The online questionnaire was easy to follow. All the documents that Cheryl sent were very well scripted to the letter. The instructions were very clear and precise – everything set out in a clearfile, I could not possibly go wrong. I found Cheryl very open and I felt like I could ring her anytime if I needed. My emails were always replied to very promptly and the fee with High Court costs were very, very low. Her motto to yield to principle not pressure is very clear. Why pay thousands when Kiwilaw can do as low as $600 total? [Note – the equivalent fee is now $690 - Kiwilaw standard fee $490, plus High Court fee $200.] The timeline from when I sent everything off to when probate was granted was approx 6 weeks – I was very impressed! Thanks Cheryl and Kiwilaw. I will certainly be recommending your services to others.’ (Maria, Manawatu, Feb 2019)

‘Cheryl is worthy of a New Year’s honour for bringing simplicity and low cost to an arcane process that has previously served only to enrich the legal profession. You can use Kiwilaw without fear. You start by answering a series of simple questions online. The documents then turn up with easy to follow instructions on what to sign and how to get them witnessed etc. It’s really straightforward.’ (Paul Barnes, Auckland, February 2019)

‘Upon realising I needed to apply for probate after my father’s passing, Google lead me to Kiwilaw’s website and Cheryl. Cheryl made the process so much easier than I thought it would be in an already difficult time. Her online questionnaire was simple and easy to follow and Cheryl completed the paperwork promptly and supplied easy to follow step by step instructions for me to finalise the application. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Kiwilaw to anyone in need of these services.’ (Craig Douglas, Auckland, February 2019)

‘I just want to say that I can’t believe how straightforward the process with you has been so far, or how responsive you have been …. It is a complete contrast to my experience to date with the [other] legal firm … Thank goodness for the internet and innovative professionals like you!’ (South Island client, February 2019 - application for probate)

‘Thanks very much for the documents which got delivered this morning. I have read and re read them. It looks pretty straightforward. Your instructions for each document are exceptional, so thanks for this.’ (Palmerston North client, December 2018 - application for probate)

‘I have completed the automated interview as requested. It seemed to work just fine and was actually very easy and intuitive.’ (Auckland client, November 2018 - application for probate)

‘Thanks again, your service was and is very helpful.’ (Auckland client, July 2018 - application for probate – two executors)

‘Recently I used Cheryl’s services to apply for Letters Of Administration after my father passed away without a known will. Cheryl made the process so easy and stress free after I became completely overwhelmed at the idea of having to deal with a large law firm and all the very large costs that came with them. Not only did Cheryl explain everything in a way that I understood, but she also made sure I was comfortable with each part of the process before we moved onto the next one. I absolutely loved the fact Cheryl gave me the option to complete each of the necessary research steps myself to keep costs down rather than just do it for me then send me a bill. I would not hesitate to recommend Cheryl’s services to anyone in my position, I can’t speak highly enough of her and the work she did for me. I am incredibly grateful to her for making a difficult time so much easier.’ (May 2018 - North Canterbury client)
Updated: 10 Aug 2019
Service Description
Service Description
Experienced lawyer, using world-leading software to save time and therefore money, when helping clients apply for a grant of administration after a loved one has passed away. Previously practising mostly in family law in the Waikato, Cheryl moved to North Canterbury in late 2015. Rather than rebuilding a Canterbury practice, she has focused on nationwide online services, starting with probate. She has recently decided to move out of family law completely rather than trying to do both. For more background, see website.
Updated: 24 Aug 2021
Languages Spoken
Languages Spoken
Language Status Details
English Yes
Updated: 29 Apr 2019