Most young families aren’t protected with a will, new research reveals
Media release July 2023
Most young families are without adequate protection for their children, assets and legacies if parents die, new research reveals.
The research, commissioned by Public Trust in its 150th year, shows 65% of parents and guardians with children aged under five do not have a will.
This improves slightly in families with older children – among parents and guardians with school aged children, 54% do not have a will in place, and this decreases to 46% among parents and guardians with older children.
Glenys Talivai, Public Trust CEO, says the research findings are “concerning”.
“You are never too young to have a will in place – we encourage anyone over 18 to have one. This is especially important if you have children,” Talivai says.
“A will is such an important life document. Having one in place helps make sure the people and things that matter most to you are looked after once you’re gone, and it forms a key part of planning for the future. Many people think wills only cover things like property and money when you die, but it also includes the important inclusion of who you want to be your child or children’s guardian,” she says.
A guardian is someone you name in your will who represents your preferences for your child if you are no longer around. They are usually responsible for looking after your child day-to-day (though this sometimes may not be the case), and they oversee your child’s interests more broadly.
“Think about who might step up and take over if needed,” Talivai says.
“If you die without a will, it can make things quite complicated and stressful for your family and friends and we encourage conversations with whānau to help ensure that proper protections are in place and that legacies are passed on as intended.”
Help protect what matters, for the people that matter most and get your will sorted today.
Key points about a will: · A legal document that sets out your wishes in regards to your assets or special items, the guardian of your young children, what will happen to your pets, and your funeral arrangements and burial wishes after your death. It can also include details of your wishes for your remains, for example would you like to be cremated or buried.
· 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 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.
· Creating a will takes as little as 25 minutes.
· Nearly 50% of all New Zealanders over 18 have a will in place, and we are working hard to increase this.
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 Kiwis 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.