Article from Sorted.org.nz
The thought of making a will can stir mixed emotions, but everyone needs one, no matter how old you are.
According to Nielsen, 66% of Kiwis aged between 25–39 don’t have a will. Some may think it’s a complicated and expensive process; others may have it on their to-do list but don’t think there’s any rush.
It’s not just younger Kiwis who haven’t gotten around to making a will: 36% of 40–54 year olds and 12% of New Zealanders aged 55 and over don’t have one either. Whatever reasons they have for not making one, they’re potentially putting their family in a difficult position if they die.
Without a will, there are no formal instructions of what happens to your money, assets and cherished possessions after your death. If you think your spouse will automatically receive everything, think again – your assets could end up being shared between your spouse, children and parents.
Having a will can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be followed and your loved ones will be provided for. Your will can include instructions on sharing your assets with family and friends, donating to charity, naming a legal guardian and even details for your funeral. You can individualise it as you want, even making provision for pets, but it is best to get one drafted by a professional such as a lawyer or trustee company.
Your will must also be signed and witnessed, and it’s important to make sure the correct process is followed, otherwise it may not be a valid document.
If you’ve got a will already, remember to review it regularly to make sure it still reflects your situation. If you get married for example, any will written before the marriage won’t be valid. A good rule to follow is to review your will whenever you experience a big life change; a separation, wedding, having a child or purchasing property are all good reasons to check it over.
Make sure all your good work isn’t undone when it really counts though by keeping a copy of your will in a safe and accessible place. No matter how thorough it is, if no one can find it the government will divide your assets using a formula that may not reflect your wishes.
The Sorted website has information about what you need to know about wills and who should be involved when making one. Taking the time now, to sort out what will happen to your belongings when you’re gone, could save your family a lot of heartache.
|Article provided by Sorted.org.nz. Sorted is New Zealand’s free independent online money guide, run by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income. Sorted has a range of free calculators to help you make financial decisions at sorted.org.nz/calculators.|