According to recent data, less than half of Kiwis have a will to provide for their loved ones and deal with their assets after they die. The data also revealed that 28 per cent of New Zealand parents do not have a will, which means families and children may be left without being properly provided for upon the parents’ passing.
If you don’t want to add to this statistic, it may be time to consider drawing up a will as soon as possible. While our mortality may not be something we want to think about, if you don’t decide on what is to happen to your assets, then the alternative is that the law decides for you. This may lead to a very different outcome to what you had intended. Here’s a list of the five most crucial things you should include in your will:
1. Any specific gifts that you may wish to make to particular family members
Specific bequests such as artwork, jewellery, or cash legacies left to particular family members should be included in your will. For example, women may wish to leave their jewellery to their daughters, or their extended family members.
It’s important that you are particular about who you are leaving valuable items to, and that you name these people carefully in your will. This can help avoid any conflict or disputes regarding ownership of these items.
2. Testamentary guardians for infant children
Guardianship is one of the biggest reasons for drawing up a will, as wills are often the best way to ensure that your children are cared for in the event that you do prematurely pass away. You can detail guardianship for children under 18 years of age within your will.
It’s essential that you name a guardian or guardians that you trust to represent your preferences for your children, otherwise the courts will have the final say, which may not be the best thing for your children in the long run.
3. The appointment of executors to administer your estate
The role of your executors is to administer your estate in accordance with your wishes. They are the ones who will be ultimately responsible for making sure your wishes in your will are carried out properly when you’re gone.
Choose an executor who you can trust to handle all the legal and commercial aspects of your estate when you pass away, as this role holds a lot of responsibility. Estate administration can become complex and stressful, requiring a lot of time and effort. Your executors may even have to deal with any claims on your estate, so choose your executor carefully.
4. Any specific instructions you may have with regard to your will
Your will can include a number of things, so it’s important to lay out any specific instructions you may have in regard to your will. This can include things such as revoking any other wills that you’ve made previously, or stating specifically that you’ve created a will following changes to your marital status.
5. How your assets are to be distributed
Your will should include instructions for how you want your money and other valuable assets to be distributed – whether that’s to your partner, children, grandchildren, other family members, charities, or amongst others.
Most commonly, parents record that their estate (after payment of any debts) is to be distributed equally to their children with a gift over to grandchildren if any of their children has died before the parents.
Drawing up a will? Gillespie Young Watson provides professional legal help
It’s never too early to prepare for the future. Our team of experienced lawyers here at Gillespie Young Watson can assist you with creating a will that protects your loved ones and your assets.