A common question we get asked is, “How do I go about getting a will?” Many of our LifeOne® life insurance and funeral cover insurance customers often want to know where their money will go when they pass away.
Public Trust recently said that 70% of young families in New Zealand don’t have a will in place, so it’s not surprising this often comes up for discussion.
Here’s some useful information to help you get your will started.
A will outlines how you want your affairs or estate managed after you pass away. You might outline things like:
- how you want your funeral to be managed
- who you want your estate to go to
- who should look after your children
- who you’d like to provide for or leave a special gift to
- who will benefit from your life insurance policy?
Another thing a will can cover is who will benefit from your life insurance policy eg your children. If you pass away without a will, your loved ones may face a very lengthy and difficult battle over your estate and the law will determine how your estate is divided. It’s easy to assume that your estate would go directly to your loved ones, but this isn't always the case.
You can create a will as soon as you'd like to make one – even if you don’t have many assets under your name.
What happens after you pass away depends on who wrote up your will, and who you appointed to execute your will. You can write up your will and appoint a friend or family member as your executor at little to no cost. You might take this approach if you have modest assets and your instructions are relatively straight forward.
Most people use a professional service to write up their will, and act as their executor. For instance, Public Trust can help you to create a new will and also charge a set fee for executing it. See their website for more information.
If you’re thinking of writing your own will, you could use a will kit to ensure you have every important detail recorded. Websites like nzwillkit.com and do-it-yourself-wills.co.nz/ offer them for a very low price. You can also find them in your local book store. Just ensure it has been signed and witnessed properly to make sure it’s valid.
Otherwise, Public Trust’s website outlines a number of options they can offer. You can also talk to your family lawyer if you have one.
For more details about getting your will sorted, visit the Citizens Advice Bureau’s website or the NZ Law Society’s comprehensive guide.