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Make getting a Will your New Year resolution

Matt Sale talks about the importance of making sure your things go to the people you love after you leave.

Make getting a Will your New Year resolution

A “she’ll be right’ attitude is quintessentially kiwi. It makes us stoic in times of adversity, but can cause us to put off important tasks like making a Will, believing we’ve got plenty of time to get our affairs in order. We have a tendency to shy away from conversations about the future and our final wishes but sometimes we need to be reminded of what’s truly important. Oddly enough this is seldom financial, some of our most precious memories are tied to personal items. These sometimes small, inexpensive items have exciting or unusual stories behind them to be passed onto future generations.

You may have noticed a campaign that Public Trust ran at the end of 2015 reuniting lost personal items with their rightful owners. We sourced 12 items that contained clues to their past owners and set out to find their current rightful owners. The value of these items was not in their monetary value, but in the rich history and intriguing stories that lay behind them.

Your Will can be about more than big ticket items like your house or investments. Every family has small precious items, high in sentimental value tucked away. It’s important to remember that you have them, and if you want them to go to people that will respect them, they should be included in your Will.

In 2014 Public Trust administered 2240 estates. Five per-cent of those were people who died intestate (without a Will). If you die without a Will, your loved ones may have difficulty sorting out your estate and the end result may not be what you would’ve wanted. The law determines how your estate is divided and what happens to the people who may depend on you.

A Will and Enduring Power of Attorney are very important legal documents. Every adult with assets or children should have them. A Will helps to ensure the people and things that matter most to you are taken care of after you’re gone. It sets out your wishes, making them clear for everyone. You can also nominate testamentary guardians you’d like to look after any children who are still dependent on you. An Enduring Power of Attorney is similar but it operates while you’re alive. It’s there in case you become incapacitated and cannot manage your own affairs for some reason. Together, these documents mean your wishes are recorded and can guide those responsible for carrying them out.

Please take a moment this New Year to consider your estate planning. Once your Will is in place, you only need to think about it when there’s a significant change in your life as it may need updating. Perhaps you could make reviewing your Will part of your New Year routine.

Public Trust can help ensure your family will be provided for and your wishes will be heard and carried out, give us a call on 0800 371 471 or visit us at publictrust.co.nz to find out more.

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