Expert's Bio

Mike Toepfer

Aspiring Law is a general practice firm, offering the best in legal services and advice to our local Upper Clutha community, as well as our national and international clients. We recently launched our new firm, after taking over AWS Legal’s Wanaka office. We’ve carefully tailored our firm’s services and culture to meet the needs of our business, and wider, community. Clients from further afield also draw on our specialist expertise, particularly advice and support around property, including large-scale developments, and agribusiness. As our clients have come to expect, the cornerstone of our new practice remains excellent, timely advice, underpinned by personalised, genuine service and support. Further to that, we’re really excited about building further on our community-based initiatives to educate and inform people on legal issues, and do our part in finding meaningful, innovative ways to support our area. Before that I was at large Auckland firm Hesketh Henry for 17 years - over 13 years as a partner and 10 years on the firm's board of management and as property team leader. I have specialised in all types of property transactions for the last 27 years.

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Articles By Mike Toepfer

Solicitors approval clauses

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2015 November 2

Solicitors approval clauses.


Solicitors approval clauses are often included in agreements for sale and purchase when they need to be signed in a hurry and one party’s lawyer is not available to talk to them first. Many people mistakenly believe that the clause means either that there is no contract until approval is given, or that the lawyer can consider all aspects of the proposed sale and all of the terms of the agreement when deciding whether to give approval. Unless the clause is carefully worded, that is not correct. The standard solicitors approval clause only gives the lawyer the

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The basic facts about easements

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2015 April 22

When buying a property, you may be told that there is an easement registered against the title. An easement is created when a land owner grants another land owner or someone else, such as a services company, the right to do certain things on part or all of their land.

The most common types of easements are rights of way, which allow a neighbour to walk and/or drive over part of the land to provide access between the neighbour’s land and a public road, or the beach.
Services easements allow a neighbour or supply company to transmit power, water, sewage, gas

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Nominees under sale and purchase agreements

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2014 January 24

And Or Nominee – Real Estate Sale and Purchase Agreements


It is common for a buyer to add the words “or nominee” under a purchase agreement when the buyer is not sure who will complete the purchase at the time the agreement is signed, or if the buyer wants to be able to form a company or trust to complete the purchase. Can the nominee enforce the agreement against the seller? A nominee is not a signatory to the original contract, and normally only the people who sign a contract can enforce it. However, the Contracts(Privity) Act 1982 says that

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Who should sign a sale and purchase agreement

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2013 November 18

When a property is owned by more than one person, who should sign the sale and purchase agreement?

Two or more individuals:
A spouse or de facto partner does not have the authority to sign the agreement for the other spouse or partner, unless one person has appointed the other as that person’s agent. It is possible for someone to have “implied authority”. This is where one person, by words or conduct, has lead a third party to believe that the other person has authority to act on that person’s behalf. However, it is best not to have to argue the

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New Property law means restrictions on building work

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2013 November 10

A new property law will come into effect soon which means that certain building work can only be designed or carried out by a licensed person.

The new law affects residential buildings or small to medium sized apartment buildings (generally, those which are less than 10 meters high). The property law does not apply to commercial buildings, mixed use buildings, or building work for which a building consent is not required(e.g. emergency work).

The type of building work which is restricted is carpentry work, block and bricklaying, foundations, roofing, and external plastering.

Also restricted is design work for the primary structure of

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Councils May be Liable for Incorrect information in LIM Reports

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2013 September 30

Supreme Court Rules On Incorrect Information Regarding LIM Reports

The Supreme Court has ruled that if a Council negligently includes incorrect information in a Land Information Memorandum,and the person who bought the LIM relies on that incorrect information, the Council will be liable for any loss suffered by that person as a result.
The case involved the purchase of some land in Marlborough by a buyer who wanted to plant grapes on the land. The purchase agreement was conditional on a satsifactory LIM, and the LIM showed that the property had a certain number of water rights. After settlement, the buyer

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Property Party Wall Easements

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2013 August 25

A wall which separates one property from another may be built entirely on the land of one party, with the neighbour having no rights over it.

However, often both neighbours will have rights over a wall which separates their properties, and which both owners use as support for the buildings on their land. This type of wall is called a party wall.

The two main types of party wall are:
a. Where the wall is built on the land of one owner, but the wall is subject to an easement in favour of the neighbour;
b. A wall which runs along the boundary

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Signing Documents on Behalf of Trustees

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2013 January 23

Sometimes, one of the trustees of a trust which owns, or wants to buy, a property wants to sign a document on behalf of one or more of the other trustees. This may be because the documents need to be signed in a hurry, or because one of the other trustees is out of town.
However, most trust deeds require decisions to be made unanimously, and any document which is not signed by all of the trustees may not be binding.
Ther may be ways to avoid problems where not all trustees will be available to sign.
Most trust deeds allow the

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New Condition in Standard Sale and Purchase Agreement

By: Milke Toepfer Aspiring Law | 2012 September 6

The Ninth Edition 2012 REINZ/ADLS agreement for sale and purchase has now been released.

There are a number of changes, but the one causing confusion is the addition of an optional condition making the sale conditional on the buyer getting a satisfactory building report.
The buyer will have 10 working days to get the report. The buyer must act objectively (i.e. reasonably) in deciding whether or not to approve the report. If the buyer is not happy with the report and cancels, a copy of the report must be given to the seller.
If a buyer wants a right to cancel for

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