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Four steps to ensuring your last wishes are heard

Matt Sale's sound advice on why you need a Will and how to make sure it's valid

Four steps to ensuring your last wishes are heard

Who should have a will?

Anybody over the age of 18 years can have a Will. The general rule of thumb is if you have assets over $15,000 you should consider writing a Will. This threshold is easily reached now for people who have been in KiwiSaver for any length of time or hold life insurance. You should also write a Will if you have children, as your Will allows you to nominate guardians to care for them.

I feel I need to write a Will – What are my options?
In this tech-savvy age it is becoming more common to turn to online sources for writing a Will. This is only suitable if your likely estate is quite simple. For only a relatively small extra cost you can spend time with an expert and make sure your Will is tailored to your situation. You probably wouldn’t try to work on your car yourself, so you should make sure something as important as your Will is in expert hands, too.

What makes an online Will valid?
Online Wills generally make you follow prompts so you can find out if your Will is outside the standard “simple Will” criteria and you should be discussing it with an adviser. To be valid, your Will still needs to be printed out, dated and signed by yourself as well as two witnesses who are not beneficiaries under the Will.

How often should I update my Will?
Once you have a Will it should be updated whenever there is a significant change in your life, such as buying a home, entering a new relationship or having children or grandchildren. If you have children, a Will is even more vital – without one, it may take a while to sort out their future and it may be strangers making the decisions for them. So while you can set and forget your Will, you do need to consider how changes in your life impact on your Will.
Who can I contact for more information?
Talk to Public Trust to make sure your 
Will suits your circumstances. See publictrust.co.nz or call 0800 371 471.

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