- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 20 December 2016, 11:29AM
- By Charlotte Lockhart
There are plenty of myths associated with making a Will in New Zealand. Here we break them down and establish the facts around this essential piece of estate planning.
Myth: It is expensive to make a Will.
Fact: You can make a legally sound Will online for as little as $50. It may cost a little more if your circumstances mean consultation with a lawyer is necessary, but do not let fear of cost put you off – making a Will, and keeping it up-to-date, will be one of the most responsible financial decisions you ever make, and it can prevent your loved ones bearing the high cost of intestacy down the track.
Myth: I don’t have ‘enough’ to justify a Will.
Fact: The ‘trigger’ point is less than you probably think – $15,000 or more in assets in your name (including KiwiSaver) means you need a Will, because at that point, if you die without one, intestacy laws kick in and the state will assign an administrator to deal with your estate. It adds to the burden (emotional and financial) on your loved ones at what is already a painful time, and means it is anyone’s guess as to what your wishes would have been.
Myth: I will need to deal with lawyers, and that comes at a cost.
Fact: You do not necessarily need to deal directly with a lawyer, especially if you go for an online Will service through a trust company. However, make sure that whichever service provider you engage makes appropriate legal scrutiny of the proposed document, to ensure it can withstand a challenge.
Myth: Making a Will is time-consuming.
Fact: Making it a Will should be as easy and everyday as online banking or saving through KiwiSaver or taking out an insurance policy. Many people can complete their Will online, or at the very least supply pertinent information about their assets and intended beneficiaries by digital means. Make sure you select an online option that promises legal review of the proposed final draft, to ensure the Will can stand up to scrutiny.
Myth: I’m not old enough to need a Will yet.
Fact: Estate planning has little to do with age and a lot to do with circumstance. As noted above, if you have $15,000 or more in assets (and this can include KiwiSaver), you need a Will. If you are married, in a long-term partnership, or have a child – or are anticipating any of these – you need a Will. And the earlier you create one, the easier and quicker, and less expensive, it will be. It will serve as a living document that you update as needed, much as you would an insurance policy.
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