Charlotte Lockhart - The Top Three Reasons People Don’t Have A Will

Publish Date
Friday, 11 November 2016, 11:35AM

Perpetual Guardian commissioned nationally representative research in 2016 to ask New Zealanders about their estate planning. 38% of people do not have a Will, and it seems many people just do not know where to start. Here are the three most common reasons they gave, and why you shouldn’t be daunted if any of them strike you as familiar.


Reason one:I don’t know where to start.

What you can do: If you have a family lawyer, talk to them about your options and agree a cost range up front. If you do not, look for a trustee services company that specialises in estate planning and offers a range of online and offline choices for your Will. The Citizens Advice Bureau is a great resource, too. It is simpler than you think, and there are many advisers who can give you a good steer at no charge.


Reason two: I do not have enough assets.

What you can do: The ‘trigger’ point is less than you probably think. Based on recent research, 80% of people know that having a Will is important, yet only 38% have one. Many New Zealanders feel that they do not have enough assets to warrant setting up a Will, yet 45% of non-Will bearers own a home and 27% have children from a previous relationship – all very valid reasons for having a Will in place to protect your loved ones. Another little-known fact is that once any assets and investments (such as KiwiSaver) reach $15,000 in value, you need a Will. It is a much smarter financial decision to establish a Will now, to save leaving it to the courts to decide the future of your assets and welfare of your loved ones if you die intestate. It’s also important to remember to update your Will regularly as your life evolves.


Reason three:I don’t want to think about the end of my life.

What you can do: It’s human nature to avoid pondering our demise, but think about it from your loved ones’ perspective – do you want them to have to deal with court administrators and other stress when they are already bereaved? And if you have children, they deserve the protection of a guardianship order in your Will. Having a will means that while important life decisions may not always be the perfect choices, they’re your choices. You decide what happens to your most precious possessions, rather than the courts.

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