David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Revealed: Details of Jonah Lomu's will

Jonah Lomu with wife Nadene and their two children Brayley and Dhyreille. Photo / Supplied
Jonah Lomu with wife Nadene and their two children Brayley and Dhyreille. Photo / Supplied

The details of Jonah Lomu's will can be revealed and show he left his rugby legacy to his young sons, while his lawyer has been left in control of his finances, rather than his wife.

The will shows trademarks, property and any other wealth have been left in the control of his long-time lawyer Chris Darlow through two companies, Stylez Ltd and Wesley Holdings Ltd.

The companies are currently the focus of issues raised by Mr Darlow with the Companies Office after Nadene Lomu changed the shareholdings to give herself ownership.

Lomu, who described himself in his will as a "professional football player", died in November, aged 40, after a long struggle with a kidney condition.

The Weekend Herald obtained Lomu's will from the High Court at Wellington. It shows it was lodged with the court on December 21, about a month after he died. Mr Darlow was granted the legal right by the court on January 21 to act as executor of the will.

Signed by Lomu, the will states: "I give the shares I own in Stylez Limited and Wesley Holdings Limited (the trustees of the Silk Trust and the Wesley Holding Trust respectively) to Christopher Robert Darlow."

The transfer of the shareholding to Mr Darlow was not for his personal benefit but to give him authority to administer the trusts.

Companies Office records show Nadene Lomu made changes to the ownership of the companies on January 4. Stylez Ltd and Wesley Holdings Ltd were 100 per cent owned by Lomu at the time of his death.

Multiple changes to Stylez Ltd at one time increased her shareholding to 99 per cent. It currently stands at 50 per cent. She also changed the ownership of Wesley Holdings Ltd. In that case, Lomu's shareholding was dropped and she listed herself as the 100 per cent shareholder.

Mr Darlow said he had approached the Companies Office over the changes. "I'm in dialogue with the Companies Office at a high level to have this rectified." He would not comment further.

A Companies Office spokeswoman last night confirmed it had been contacted by Mr Darlow over changes made to the shareholdings of Stylez Ltd and Wesley Holdings Ltd.

The two companies control the Silk Trust and Wesley Trust into which the Weekend Herald has confirmed Lomu arranged to receive various payments over the past two decades for media and promotional work.

Stylez Ltd is also listed on public records as the owner of an $800,000 apartment in Wellington, which Lomu bought from his future father-in-law in 2008 for $1.5 million. The same company is shown as having registered the trademarks on Lomu's name and branded imagery, although ownership is believed to be with the Silk Trust.

Through the will, Lomu wiped clean any money owed to him by the trusts or the companies.

It then focused on his sons, saying: "I give all my rugby and other sporting memorabilia to the trustees for the time being of the Silk Trust to be held in the terms of that Trust. In doing so I express the wish that the trustees of the Silk Trust hold such memorabilia for the benefit of my children Dhyreille ... and Brayley." The will also stated any remaining wealth left should go to Nadene.

Beyond naming his sons as beneficiaries of the Silk Trust, the will does not specifically name any other person as a beneficiary of the Silk Trust or Wesley Trust. As a private trust, there is no public record to show whether it includes his wife or other family members.

But the will does state the power to appoint people as trustees of the trust remains with Mr Darlow.

The unbundling of Lomu's estate is separate from the trust set up after his death for the benefit of the boys when it became clear he had little or no money left.

A trustee of the independent trust, John Phipps, said it was "under way and funds are coming in".

Nadene Lomu was Jonah Lomu's third wife, with the pair meeting in 2008 and marrying in 2011.

- NZ Herald

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