Charlotte Lockhart - Where There’s A Will, You Have Your Say

Publish Date
Thursday, 20 October 2016, 12:33PM
By Charlotte Lockhart

Who needs a Will?
If you are 18 years or over and a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand, and you have $15,000 or more in assets (in any asset classes, including KiwiSaver or other savings vehicles), you need a Will. Do not assume that you are too young to have a Will – many parents establish KiwiSaver or other savings accounts for their children when they are born, so by the time they reach adulthood some people have substantial savings invested in their name, along with assets such as vehicles.

For those people with dependent children, one of the most important functions of a Will is to hold the order of guardianship for your offspring. This will declare who will assume responsibility for the permanent care of your children in the event of your death, and how their care will be funded from your estate.

For all of us, a well-structured, legally sound Will ensures that our wishes are fulfilled, the people we care about are looked after, and our loved ones are spared the stress and expense of managing an intestacy (what happens when you die without a Will) at what is already a terrible time.

What is the best time of life to make your Will?
The earlier the better. Think of making your first Will as being like opening a bank account, getting your full driver license or taking out an insurance policy. Early estate planning should be a natural rite of passage that is part of becoming an adult and setting yourself up for an organized, successful future.

The advantage of making a Will in your 20s is that your life is likely to be simpler at that age, and you can draft your Will inexpensively online, store it safely online (such as through myDigital Vault), and record its location through the NZ Will Register. Then when you make significant life changes – getting married, having a baby, buying a house – you can update your Will as you go along, adding guardianship order, beneficiaries and so on.

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