We often don’t think about what should happen in the event that we cease to exist for our loved ones, but this can result in burdening our family and friends with the task of sorting out our last wishes. Matt Sale, General Manager Retail Customers for Public Trust, is focused on making sure each and every person has a Will. Here he shares with us seven important things to note about wills.
What is a Will?
It is a document that sets out your wishes for what you would like to have happen after you die, making them clear for everyone.
Who can make a Will?
Anyone who is of sound mind and 18 years or older can make a will. Underage applicants need the consent of a Family Court judge.
What happens if someone dies without making a Will?
This is called dying intestate. Your estate is distributed according the Administration Act 1969. The distribution rules vary dependent on:
· whether you are survived by a spouse or partner
· whether there are children
· if your parents are still living
Legal expenses and time delays are usually greater where there is no Will. There may also be doubt over who will administer your estate.
What makes a Will legal?
A Will must be in writing, signed and dated, and signed by at least 2 witnesses who are not beneficiaries of the Will. It must be written by someone of sound mind who is not being coerced or unduly influenced.
How do I ensure my children are supported financially after I die?
The equity in the family home or adequate life insurance are generally the main ways of ensuring this. We can help you calculate the amount of life insurance you need to care for your family (spouse and children) in case you die unexpectedly.
What does the executor of a Will do?
An executor is the person or organisation responsible for ensuring that the wishes specified in the Will are carried out and that the assets are transferred to beneficiaries as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Responsibilities of an executor include applying for Probate (getting court approval to handle the estate), locating all beneficiaries, collect, sell and distribute assets and pay estate expenses. The duties expected of an executor can be difficult, demanding and time consuming. Public Trust can take on this responsibility on your behalf.
How do I update my Will?
You shouldn’t change your will by altering a Will that you’ve already made. Its best to get it updated, that is get a new Will prepared. The updated Will should include a clause to state that all previous versions of your Will are cancelled.
Where can I find more information about getting a Will? You can find more information about a last will at www.publictrust.co.nz or call on 0800 371 471