In New Zealand, if a Lawyer wants to makes themselves a beneficiary of a clients Will, all the Lawyer has to do is to get another Lawyer to draft up the Will on their behalf, thereby circumnavigating Rule 5.10 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008.
. Rule 5.10 of the RCCC provides as follows:
“A lawyer must not draft or assist in drafting a provision of a will or other instrument under
which the lawyer may take a benefit other than a benefit normally attached to acting in a
professional capacity in respect of the will or instrument unless, before the execution of the
will or instrument, the person concerned has taken independent advice.”
Additionally, Rules 5.8 and 5.8.1 of the RCCC provide as follows:
5.8 A lawyer must not accept a gift from a client if there is a possibility of the gift being or
appearing to be inconsistent with the trust and confidence reposed by the client.
5.8.1 In any case where a lawyer proposes to accept a gift of a significant amount or value,
the lawyer may do so only if the client has taken prior independent advice in respect
of the matter.
Rules 5.8 and 5.8.1 is even easier to circumvent, as all a Lawyer has to do is nominate another party seemingly “unconnected” to the Lawyer to be named as the clients beneficiary of the Will.
Once the client passes on, and the Estate is paid to the “beneficiary”, and the “beneficiary” simply passes the Estate assets to the (now deceased) clients Lawyer.
The New Zealand Law Society does not seem to have anything within its investigative or sanctioning “toolbox” to stop NZ Lawyers engaging in such reprehensible behaviour.