The administration of an estate can be complicated when the deceased dies intestate leaving a partner or spouse.
The difficulty arising in part also from the interplay of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 and the Administration Act 1969.
A surviving spouse or partner who has not applied for Letters of Administration can lodge a caveat against an application made by somebody else. Where this happens an order nisi can be granted under s 61(a)(ii) of the Administration Act. This allows the caveator time to demonstrate why an order should not be made.
The grounds for a surviving spouse or partner arise from s 77 of the Administration Act, which determines who can share in a deceased estate. However, care is required to also consider s 77B, which restricts the circumstances in which a surviving de facto partner can take on intestacy where the relationship was of short duration (less than 3 years).
Another consideration where there is a qualifying relationship is whether the survivor wishes to share on the intestacy or elect to have their entitlement determined under the Property (Relationships) Act. See s 61 of that Act regarding the ability to make an election.
Estate of Keriana Hara Lucinda Lorrain Whati  NZHC 3243