Public Trust celebrates Wills Week with list of top 10 unique last wishes made by Kiwis

From saying “I love you” and making jokes, to leaving large sums of money for fresh flower deliveries or ensuring Fluffy the cat is looked after, Public Trust is highlighting Kiwis’ unique last wishes to show the sweet, sentimental – and sometimes humorous – side of will making.

New Zealand’s largest provider of estate planning services has released a list of ten unique last wishes as part of Wills Week, which it is celebrating from 7– 11 September, to raise awareness about the importance of wills for all Kiwis.

Public Trust Chief Executive Glenys Talivai says she hopes the list will appeal to Kiwis’ sense of humour and curiosity while also helping to dispel some of the common myths and misunderstandings holding people back from creating a will.

“Many people think you need to be old or rich to have a will or that it’s going to be a solemn, unpleasant process of dividing assets. By highlighting the lighter, more personal side of will-making we want to show Kiwis you don’t need lots of money for a will to be meaningful.

“Creating a will gives people a sense of pride for having taken responsibility for the special relationships and possessions in their life and, as our list shows, the most important elements of a will often aren’t necessarily items of great financial value.”

In fact, Talivai says it is often the little things that hold the most value for both the will-maker and their loved ones, with Public Trust’s list of unique last wishes including things like a necklace passed down through generations and a brush left as a joke between siblings.

Currently, only 48% of adult New Zealanders have a will in place, leaving significant room for potential financial and emotional stress amongst families. Public Trust is on a mission to increase the number of Kiwis covered by a will in order to protect more families from such strife.

The Crown entity recently launched an online wills service, which allows Kiwis to create a will online in as little as 15 minutes, with pricing starting at $69.

Talivai says launching the online service is part of Public Trust’s wider goal to make wills more accessible to Kiwis.

“We hope that by removing barriers like time, place and affordability, more Kiwis can protect their families with a will and, if this list of unique last wishes is anything to go by, hopefully have some fun doing it too.”

Public Trust’s top 10 unique last wishes made by Kiwis

  1. Making loved ones laugh  For jokesters, wills can be a chance to make a loved one laugh at an otherwise sad time. For example, one person left a small sum of money for a friend and fellow card-game player to make a specific bet at the next game, saying the recipient would understand and laugh.
  2. Taking care of furry friends
    Some Kiwis leave thousands of dollars for the welfare and care of pets. One will-maker left a sizable $25,000 to “whomever looked after Fluffy*”, his beloved cat.
  3. Passing on prized collections
    From valuable stamp collections and well-loved record collections, to prized medals and giant Lego collections, Kiwis love their collectibles and so these often feature in wills.
  4. Special experiences and travel

Some people want to ensure that at least a portion of their money goes towards something fun and memorable like a specific trip or special experience. One doting grandfather wanted money left for his grandkids to go on a big family holiday to Disneyland – something he wished he could have done when his own children were young.

  1. Seemingly insignificant objects with great meaning
    Often people leave inexpensive objects that hold great value to a loved one – from hats and watches to chipped teapots. One person left an old brush to a sibling because it had always been a joke between them.
  2. Planning ahead for fresh flowers
    Some people put aside thousands of dollars specifically so they can have fresh flowers on their grave for years to come. One person left enough money to ensure their grave would be well maintained for more than 50 years.
  3. Going green

Some eco conscious Kiwis use their wills to request eco funerals using only sustainably harvested, environmentally friendly materials.

  1. Starting new traditions

    Jewellery is one of the items people tend to pass down through generations, often to maintain or even start family traditions. In one instance, a gold chain belonging to a grandmother was left to the eldest granddaughter with a wish that this continue to only be passed on to the eldest granddaughters – the start of a beautiful new tradition.

  2. Training a future sporting star or artist

    Some parents set aside money for things like sports clubs or music lessons to ensure their child’s passion can continue even if they’re not around.

  3. Words of gratitude

In an especially touching use of a will, some people choose to add special words of gratitude or final messages for loved ones. One parent left a simple message of “I love you all” as the last words for their children to read.

ENDS



*Not real name of cat – can also be substituted with Whiskers, Boots or Garfield.

Notes to editors:

  • About Wills Week:
    Public Trust created ‘Wills Month’ 10 years ago to raise awareness around the importance of Kiwis having wills. It has since grown into an annual industry wide event. This year we’re doing things a little differently by launching a ‘Wills Week’ – a week filled with activity to boost awareness and help Kiwis get their ‘financial house’ in order through measures such as wills.
  • From 7 – 18 September, Public Trust is holding a wills myth-busting quiz on its website, offering Kiwis the chance to win a free online will worth $69. The quiz can be found at: www.publictrust.co.nz/personal/wills/mythbusting-quiz
  • About Public Trust’s online will and EPA service:
    • Depending on the will’s complexity, a Public Trust online will can be created in as little as 15 minutes with pricing starting at $69. The platform is secure, comes with New Zealand-based phone and chat support and is accessible 24/7.
    • The New Zealand public can get their will and EPAs sorted with Public Trust online by going to: www.ptnz.nz/online
  • Public Trust’s top 5 tips for creating a will – read it here.


For further information or to arrange an interview:

Contact: Alisha Fox, Communications Consultant

Phone: 020 4192 0581

Email: alisha.fox@publictrust.co.nz