Wills Week 2023 - You’re never too young to have a will
Media release July 2023
New research commissioned by Public Trust in its 150th year reveals 65% of parents and guardians with children aged under five in New Zealand do not have a will, highlighting a common misconception that people believe they don’t have assets worth protecting, or that they’re too young to need a will.
This Wills Week 2023, brought to you by Public Trust and running from 17 to 23 July, Public Trust is working hard to disprove these misconceptions and boost the number of New Zealanders with wills. The overall aim of Wills Week is to educate New Zealanders on the importance of protecting the things that matter for the people that matter and empower them with the confidence to write their will.
Vanessa Dudley, Public Trust General Manager, Retail, says “wills can cover important things like nominating a guardian for your young children, and what your wishes are for your assets, including your KiwiSaver account, pets, family heirlooms and other special possessions”.
“All Kiwi over the age of 18 who have assets in one institution worth more than $15,000 or who have dependents should have a will. It is such an important life document that forms a key part of planning for the future and helps make sure the people and things that matter most to you are looked after once you’re gone,” Dudley says.
“If you die without a will, it can make things quite complicated and stressful for your family and friends. We encourage conversations with whānau to help ensure that legacies are passed on as intended.”
The research also reveals an increasing interest in, and value placed on, ‘emotional’ legacy which is less about finances and more about passing on values, taonga and heirlooms.
Legacies can be many different things and go beyond money and assets – a legacy can also be about passing on family traditions and values, a favourite artwork passed through generations, or a sentimental jewellery item.
Leaving something behind helps people and communities thrive – 71 percent claim an emotional benefit from receiving a legacy, which supersedes the number who received a financial benefit from a legacy – 51 percent.
“We believe planning is critical and getting documents such as a will in place offer a level of comfort for the future as it enables people to fulfil their desire to provide both financial and emotional legacies for their whānau,” says Dudley.
Without a will in place, your special items and assets may not be passed on how you would have liked.
Key points about a will: · You don’t need a lot of money and assets to have a will – anyone over 18 with $15,000 or more in cash, assets or investments in any one institution needs one. With the average KiwiSaver balance now around $29,000 (and constantly growing) this means far more people should have a will.
· Even if you don’t have assets, a will can be a good way to decide who you’d like important possessions or family heirlooms to go to.
· Dying without a will in place can leave your loved ones with a challenging, time-consuming process to navigate at an already difficult time. It also means that your wishes may not be carried out as you would have liked.
· It’s important to put a will in place while you’re in sound mind and memory, otherwise it may not be valid.
· People often think that once you’ve made a will you won’t need to think about it again. But the truth is, you may need to change your will or update it. For example, if you’ve had a new child or have had a relationship end – you don’t want to wait too long before getting your will updated. We see family members miss out or wishes left unfulfilled because the latest will doesn’t reflect their current situation. It’s a good idea to review your will at least every five years.
About Public Trust Public Trust, which marks its 150-year anniversary this year (2023), is a Crown entity employing over 400 people across our corporate offices and network of customer centres.
Our purpose is to empower all New Zealanders to build and protect their legacies. We do this through our work as New Zealand’s largest provider of estate planning and management services. We are also one of the country’s largest charitable trust administrators and advisers, helping more than 420 charities to set up trusts and distribute funds back to our communities.
Our investment team manages around $1.2bn of funds, primarily for charities, estate beneficiaries and students (through our Fee Protect service). Public Trust’s Corporate Trustee Services offer some of Australasia’s best-known institutions a full range of trustee services and we supervise a number of KiwiSaver and superannuation scheme providers.
About the research To better understand and quantify New Zealanders attitudes and actions around intergenerational wealth, Public Trust commissioned a quantitative survey of more than 1,000 Kiwi 18 years and over.
All information, content, and materials referred to, in this document are for general informational purposes only. Information in this document is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. You should not act in reliance on the content of this document without first obtaining professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances. While Public Trust has made every effort to ensure that the content of this document is up to date and error-free, Public Trust does not give any guarantee or other assurance as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or fitness for any particular purpose of the content.