Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

We hope you have questions

  • Businesses can be purchased either from the business owner directly or alternatively through a business broker who acts for the business owner.

    Buying a business can be a financially rewarding decision, but if you buy the wrong business or for the wrong reasons it can end up costing you significantly. It is important to conduct thorough due diligence when looking to purchase a business.

    Normally you would engage a lawyer to look over the legal documents and an accountant to review the financials of the business and verify that all is in order.

    ASCO Legal is very familiar and confident with business purchases. It is important that you engage a law firm that is familiar with acting on businesses purchases to review the agreement before you sign it.

  • Buying your first home can be a daunting, stressful time - but really exciting! Our aim at ASCO Legal is to guide you through the process to ensure you receive the advice and support that you need to feel confident. We welcome your enquiries and are happy to assist you, whether you have signed an agreement already, or are in the initial stages of house hunting and want to discuss what to expect.

    As your property purchase progresses, we will advise you regarding the Agreement, title, LIM report and other documentation for the property. If you are withdrawing your Kiwisaver fund we can assist with this also. It is important to us that we are there to answer all the questions you have about the documents and the process in general. No question is too big or too small and we welcome your emails and phone calls throughout the process.

    Once the agreement is unconditional we will liaise with your bank and prepare everything needed to complete the settlement. We will report to you following settlement with full copies of our trust account statements and a copy of your updated record of title showing you as the new owners.

  • ​If you are listing your house with a real estate agent, often we are not involved until you have a signed contract in place. However, if you would like us to review your agreement prior to you signing it we are happy to do this and will advise you and answer any questions you have about the property, the documents or the process generally.

    We then liaise with the purchasers’ solicitor regarding satisfaction of the conditions. We value good communication and will keep you updated as to developments along the way.

    Once the agreement is unconditional we will arrange a discharge of your mortgage and take care of all the requirements needed to ensure a smooth settlement. Once the necessary documents have been prepared we will make a time for you to come in and sign them. We will then complete the settlement on the day and deposit the proceeds into your bank account.

    As always at ASCO Legal, we welcome your queries and it is our hope to support and assist you through the process and do all we can to make it a hassle free, positive experience for you.

  • Whether you are looking at setting up a franchise from scratch in New Zealand, or you already have a working franchise in another country such as Australia, the U.S.A. or South Africa, there are various things that are unique to franchising in New Zealand that you will need to be aware of.

    ASCO Legal has particular experience and skill in franchising. We are a member and have a history of being involved with the Franchise Association of New Zealand, and we also author the New Zealand precedents available to lawyers all over the country via a reputable provider.


    If you are just starting out we have the tools to get you going. We represent many franchisors and franchisees and are aware of what is important, what is industry standard, and what just isn’t necessary.

    Whether you will need the full suite of documents from the Franchise Agreement through to Manager’s Agreement, or you will just need one or two simple documents will depend on the nature of your business, your goals, and the scope of your operation. These can be talked through with you, with your goals and budget at the forefront.


    Although franchising in New Zealand is largely unregulated, this does not mean that anything will do, or that the existing documents drafted for overseas markets are going to translate particularly well here.

    For example, particular attention needs to be paid to potential cartel provisions that need to be complied with and as dictated by New Zealand law. In addition, franchises in New Zealand need to be careful that any restraints of trade provisions will be appropriate and have their best chance of enforcement should that be necessary. Another point to consider is whether you will be wanting to joint the Franchise Association of New Zealand (FANZ). The Association essentially promotes best practice within the franchising arena in New Zealand and members must comply with their requirements in their documentation and running of a franchise. A FANZ membership is considered by some as an endorsement of a standard of a franchise, and as such obtaining one can be considered a worthwhile pursuit for both an overseas franchise, and a brand new one.

  • When a loved one passes away, it can be a very challenging time for families. There will a number of personal and legal matters to attend to. One thing to reflect on during the immediate days following the death of a loved one is that their Will may express their wishes in relation to their funeral and their preference as to cremation or burial. If we hold the Will please let us know and we will advise you about the deceased's wishes.

    At ASCO Legal we are very experienced in supporting families through the very difficult initial days and providing guidance on what needs to be done in the weeks and months ahead. Where the deceased person’s estate has minimal assets, we provide the family with advice on steps they need take. For larger estates, we can prepare and submit the Executors’ application for Probate and, where the deceased did not leave a Will, we can apply for Letters of Administration on behalf of the potential beneficiaries.

    We have experience in all steps of the estate administration process including dealing with real estate agents and selling estate property, collecting in overseas assets, paying estate debts, complying with Inland Revenue requirements, and the distribution of estate funds. We can also assist in defending any claims that could arise against the estate, managing life interests and creating trusts for minors. As the costs of the estate administration can vary depending on the nature of the estate, we will ensure that from the outset, we will provide you with a clear understanding of the costs and disbursements to be incurred through the process, so that there are no surprises.

  • It is relatively straightforward to make a Will in New Zealand.

    Basically, a Will is a document that states what you want to happen when you pass away. Your Will can address things like whether you want to be cremated or buried, who you want to give your assets to, who you would like to be a testamentary guardian of your children, who you want to take care of your pets, and any specific gifts you want your loved ones to have.

    It is critical that a Will is done properly, because although Wills are straightforward, the potential for confusion and expensive issues if a Will is drafted or executed incorrectly is high. At ASCO Legal we are attuned and very knowledgeable on all the requirements for executing an effective Will, and are more than happy to talk you through your wishes.

  • In short, Enduring Powers of Attorney are documents whereby you (as "Donor") state that you would like someone to act for you if you become unable to act for yourself. There are two types in New Zealand - Property, and Personal Care & Welfare.

    There are many options and variables and it is important that you understand them all, and at ASCO Legal we can talk through these options with you. For example, you can require that your Attorney has to consult with someone else, or that your Attorney can only act in relation to some of your property. With the Property Enduring Power of Attorney, you can even have it becoming effective immediately - so it is in effect both when you have capacity and when you lose capacity.

    Many rest homes and care facilities in New Zealand require that all their residents have Enduring Powers of Attorney in place before they move in.

  • Firstly, yours and your dependant's safety is always paramount. If you or your dependants are or may be in danger you should call the Police immediately by dialling 111 (New Zealand).

    When you are separating from somebody we strongly suggest that you consider your Will and Enduring Powers of Attorney to ensure that they still reflect your wishes. Your wishes may well be different now that you're not with your ex-partner anymore so they should be considered and updated without delay.

    We also suggest that you consider the access you may have expressly or inadvertently given to your ex-partner in respect of your email, bank account, social media, browsing history, etc. (keeping in mind that some of your accounts may be automatically logged in on some devices that your ex-partner may have in his or her possession). No doubt you will be having sensitive discussions with friends and family about your separation and trying to get everything in order. You do not want your ex-partner accessing your private conversations, records, and documents during this time. You should disconnect the accounts and change your passwords as necessary. ​You may also wish to set up a separate bank account, though you should not attempt to hide any assets you have from your partner.

    If your situation is relatively stable and amicable, there are various steps which can and need to be taken to move forward. Usually these involve what is commonly known as a Separation Agreement (to divide your assets/liabilities) and a Parenting Agreement (if you have dependant children). ASCO Legal can assist you to work through these and negotiate with your ex-partner or your ex-partner's solicitor to reach a resolution that works for everyone. You and your ex-partner may also have other claims to work through such as Spousal Maintenance, Occupation Rent, or Economic Disparity. The meaning and impact of these can all be discussed and worked through with us.

    To move forward with a Separation Agreement all the details of yours and your ex-partner's assets/liabilities will need to be assembled and disclosed to one-another in full. Disclosure will include everything you own, as well as any joint assets you hold, any trusts you are involved in (in whatever way), and any companies or shares you own - both in New Zealand and overseas. If you are separating you may like to start thinking about all the assets and liabilities you have and start listing them along with their approximate values so that this initial disclosure stage can progress smoothly.

    Down the track, once you have been separated from your ex-partner for a period of two years, you are apply for a divorce. This is usually a relatively straightforward and inexpensive process.

  • ​If you engage a lawyer, you will want to make sure you make the most of your initial meeting.

    It pays to do a little preparation before your first meeting. This will help you get all your issues on the table, and will ensure your lawyer gets all the information he or she needs to advise you properly on the law, your rights, and the options available to you.

    We suggest you think about or write out a summary of what’s happened (including all key dates if relevant), any questions you have, and what your goals are. It is also useful to know the names of all the people involved, or even draw a diagram or family tree to help you explain who's involved.

    At ASCO Legal we prefer if you bring as much information with you to your consultation as possible, including copies of any court documents, contracts, or letters about your matter. As a minimum, it is usually useful to bring along with you the full names and contact details of all the people involved.

    At your consultation, expect your lawyer to ask you a lot of questions. Your lawyer will ask questions to make sure they fully understand what has happened and what legal issues may be involved. Everything you tell your lawyer is treated in strict confidence, so you should feel free to talk frankly.

    Once your lawyer has enough information, he or she will talk to you about the legal issues involved, what the applicable law is, and what your options might be going forward. If your case is complex, your lawyer may want to go and do some further research before advising you on the law and your options.

    By the end of the meeting, you should know:

    • If your lawyer needs any further information from you;
    • What your lawyer will do next (if anything);
    • What you should do next (if anything); and
    • How much you may can expect to spend in legal fees.

    In our experience, most clients find the initial consultation a reassuring and informative process.

  • You and your lawyer will introduce yourselves and talk about the issue that you have come for. Much like a doctor, a lawyer will listen to why you have come to see them and ask you questions.

    At ASCO Legal we aim to keep you as comfortable as possible during our meetings, understanding that legal issues can be emotional and stressful. We can provide free tea and coffee, free parking (including mobility parking), and your children are welcome to come along to your meetings with us. We have toys and activities for your children to keep them interested and happy.

    It is important to be honest with your lawyer and don't be afraid to ask questions yourself to make sure you get the most out of your meeting. Feel free to refer to any notes or documents you have brought with you to help you explain. You should leave a meeting with a lawyer knowing what to do next and with some direction as to how your issue might be progressed or resolved.

  • Absolutely. ASCO Legal act as professional independent trustee on many trusts for clients, and if this is a suitable option for you, we would be happy to act as a trustee on your trust.

    Similarly, ASCO Legal's Director Alistair acts as an executor on clients estates where this is appropriate. Having Alistair act in this role often provides much needed reassurance and oversight with the estate process as this role can occasionally be worrying for family or friends that are also executors.

  • At ASCO Legal, we usually issue our invoices at the completion of a matter (such as Settlement of a property), or on an interim basis, normally monthly, if your matter is likely to be ongoing.

    We offer our clients payment by internet banking. However, if this does not work for you, we are happy to accept other payment methods as detailed on our invoices.

    We appreciate and understand the value of money. If you think you may have trouble paying any invoice of ours, please talk to us. We are happy to enter into a customised payment plan that works for both of us.

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The information posted on this website is prepared for a general audience, without investigation into the facts of any particular case. This information is no substitute for legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client relationship; you are advised to consult with a lawyer on any legal issue

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