Frequently Asked Questions

What will it cost?

Professional legal services can be expensive - but by working closely with your chosen advisor, it is often possible to carry out the work in a cost effective manner.

There are different levels of charge for different types of work. For example, much Family Law work is carried out at Legal Aid rates (or rates similar to those). By contrast, complex commercial work is normally charged at a higher rate, because the amounts involved and the potential consequences for those people, is considerable.

Fortunately, for transactional work (such as buying a house or arranging a loan), we are able to work cost effectively by using paralegals such as a Registered Legal Executive.

If you want to know more about the likely cost of proposed work, please contact us.


Is it easy to find a park?

Godfreys Law is situated in Central Christchurch. We have client parking available at the front of our building (Washington Way). These parks are clearly labeled for your convenience. If you are unable to make it into our office then it is also possible for us to carry out a large amount of our work through best use of fax, email and phone discussions.


What are "LIMs and PIMs"?

Many people have heard of "LIMs and PIMs", when they are buying or selling houses.

A LIM is a report from the local council, where a property is situated. A PIM report is similar, but relates to a building in the process of construction.

Most often a property purchaser will be looking at a LIM

It is essential to get a LIM report, because it contains useful and important information about a property. For example it will detail building consents, building permits and it might also highlight work on the property for which no such consents were obtained.

In most cases the fee for a LIM report is not very much, ranging from $150 to $300. It is money well spent, especially when considering the amount of money being spent on the property being purchased.


What happens if I don't have a Will?

It is surprising how many people in New Zealand do not have current Wills. If you own property it is important to have a Will that sets out who takes responsibility for sorting things out; and also who gets the money after that.

If there is no will, it will lead to extra expense and often to extra complications.

Luckily there is an Act of Parliament (called the Administration Act) which sets out a list of who might get the money (if there is no will). The list includes spouses, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters. Only if there is none of those people would the money go to the Government.

It is much cheaper to have a simple Will to set out who should deal with the estate rather than take any risk with where the money might go.


What does "Searching the Title" mean?

When you buy a property, it is important to have a lawyer check the title. In the past, this was not an easy process, and many years ago there were large books which contained title deed information. In those days it was a case of carrying out "a search". A lawyer would personally have to go to the Lands and Deeds Office to inspect the books, make notes of the title, and try to understand the items marked.

Luckily, New Zealand now has a computer based system of titles. Checking the title is much simpler, but it is still very important.

Many titles are clear of interests and encumbrances - but a lawyer still needs to fully understand the property being purchased. For example, there could be missing easements or other missing documents needed for full enjoyment of the property being purchased.

Whether it is called "searching the title" or something else, this is one of the most important aspects of property purchase, and is best carried out by a lawyer skilled in those transactions.


How do the Canterbury Earthquakes affect property transactions?

Once of the most important issues that property purchasers and vendors should be aware of is the desirability of obtaining a Geotechnical Report on all new contracts. This means when signing up all new purchase contracts we strongly advise that you make the contract subject to a Geotechnical Report. A Geotechnical report usually requires a site investigation of the property to be carried out and will present the findings of the site investigation, outline the assessment of the ground conditions and provide recommendations for building foundations, earthworks or retaining walls.

As well as supporting the design and consent process for buildings, Geotechnical Reports may also be required for earthworks or land stability purposes.

There are many other issues raised by the earthquake, such as the availability of current information on LIMs, that we will make you aware of in the course of any new or existing property transactions.