Making a plan for what happens after you die is the best way to help ensure that the people and things you love are looked after. It’s easy to create your will with Public Trust and can make the process of managing your passing less stressful for your family.
If you pass away without a will and have assets worth more than $15,000, your loved ones may have to navigate a lengthy and difficult process to determine how your assets are divided and what happens to the people who depend on you.
Your will should be personal – it should reflect your unique life and legacy. To make sure everything says what you need it to, or that you’ve found exactly the right words to explain things to your loved ones, you might like someone with years of experience to review your online documentation.
A Public Trust Expert Review can do just that! One of our highly knowledgeable and experienced trustees can review your will, statement of wishes or EPA, giving you total peace of mind that your wishes are accurately and legally reflected in your will or EPA.
Once you have paid for your will, simply purchase an Expert Review and someone will be in touch after reviewing your documentation for next steps.
How to create your will online with Public Trust
No matter how straightforward your circumstances, having an up to date will ensures everyone understands what you’d like done with your estate – that is, your assets, debts and anything else in your name after you’re gone. This can include who will be responsible for carrying out your final wishes, your funeral instructions, who will be the testamentary guardian of your children and who should benefit from your assets, including any specific gifts you want to make.
As well as specifying what will be given to your beneficiaries - the people who receive your assets - a will is also important for naming your executor and trustee – the person who will be responsible for applying to the High Court for probate, collecting all your assets, paying all your debts, carrying out your final wishes and dealing with any disputes.
How do I get a will?
Easy & Fast
make a will from the comfort of your couch in as little as 25 minutes.
Built for your circumstances
basic, standard, and comprehensive options are available.
Secure and accessible
our online platform is available 24/7, with local support via live chat or phone.
create an Enduring Power of Attorney or statement of wishes in your own time, online.
Thorough and guided
our specialists make sure you understand exactly what each decision means.
Specific to your needs
we’ll draft a will tailored to your situation and needs.
Simple and efficient
after your preparation (25 mins), the initial appointment only takes around 1 hour.
include an Enduring Power of Attorney or establish a trust to suit your needs.
The process for creating a will
Preparation should take around 25 minutes. You’ll need to consider who will be your beneficiaries, what valuable assets you own, who you would like to receive them, who will be your executor, who you want to care for any minor children and what you would like for your funeral. See our guide for 5 things to think about when making your will.
Online, complete the document in your own time. In person, one of our experts will lead you through the process of preparing your will, and answer any questions you may have. This can take from 25 minutes online for a simple will, to 1.5 hours in person for a complex will.
Review & approval (in person only)
We’ll prepare and check your will and then send it to you for approval before signing. This usually happens 3-5 working days after your consultation, and is your chance to ensure everything is correct.
Signing & safe storage
If you create your will in one of our customer centres we’ll help you witness and sign your will before storing it in our vault if that is what you want. This takes around 15 minutes, and we’ll give you a copy to take home with you. Online wills also need to be printed out and signed in front of two witnesses.
Have things changed?
We recommend reviewing your will every year to make sure it’s still up to date.
It's important to review your will regularly, especially after any significant events or changes in your life like welcoming a new baby, ending or starting a relationship, and buying or selling a home or business. We’ll send you a reminder to check your will after a year.
What happens after you die?
When your will is stored with Public Trust, we’ll keep it safe until it’s needed.
If we’re the executor of your will, your family can depend on our specialists to manage all the tricky stuff - the financial, legal, and paperwork burdens - as part of a process called estate administration.
If you’ve named someone else as executor, Public Trust also provides an Executor Assist service which is tailor-made to help them as much or as little as they need. Our experience helps hundreds of executors each year to make the task of settling a loved one’s estate that little bit easier.
Every adult with more than $15,000 of assets (including savings, KiwiSaver, shares, and material assets) should have a will.
Anyone who is of sound mind and is aged 18 or older can make a will.
Perhaps there’s something more sentimental worth protecting like an heirloom or photo album?
The way in which you divide your estate is totally up to you, keeping in mind that you may have certain obligations to provide for your partner and dependents. If you need guidance, check out our resources here.
When you die, a process called estate administration begins, which is the name for all the tasks required to settle your debts, assets, and any other remaining affairs.
Some of these tasks include assisting with funeral arrangements, notifying beneficiaries in the Will, applying for probate, confirming and distributing assets, paying debts and closing accounts.
Your executor is the person who manages this process, it could be a person or an organisation such as Public Trust. If you choose us, you can be confident that our work is charged based on the work that we do, not a percentage of your estate.
Yes. Our online platform allows you to create your will from the comfort of your own home. This means you can go at your own pace, look up information as you need it, and talk with your loved ones throughout the process.
If you need any assistance, our customer support team is just a phone call away to answer any questions and provide guidance or technical assistance.
Note that once you’ve created the will online, it still needs to be printed, signed and properly witnessed as a hard copy document. Start now.
Yes, we have a self-service online tool where it's easy to create your will, and you don't need a laywer.
Our online self-service will templates are written by legal specialists and specifically for New Zealand legislation and court processes.
When you’re finished online, simply print it out and bring it into one of our offices for signing and safe storage. Start now.
If you need to update your will, you shouldn't try to change your will by altering the one you've already made – this might make it invalid. It’s easy to update it with Public Trust, either by doing it yourself online, or a Public Trust expert can do it for you. We will include a clause to state that all previous versions of your Will are cancelled.
To be considered valid, a will must be written by someone of sound mind who is not being coerced or unduly influenced. To avoid any doubt and trouble when applying for probate, you can get a testamentary medical certificate from your Doctor at the time of signing the will.
It also needs to be signed by the person making the will and dated and witnessed by at least two people who are not beneficiaries of the will or a spouse or relative of anyone named in the will. The will maker must sign in the presence of both witnesses and each witness must sign as a witness in the presence of the will maker and each other. We can take care of this in one of our offices. Find a location near you.
If Public Trust prepares your will, we can keep the original in safe storage and give you a copy. You are invited to register the paper copy’s location with Public Trust so we can help your family locate it when the time comes.
It's a good idea to keep your will or a copy of your will with other important documents, like your birth and marriage certificates or passport.
If you make your will through our online portal, it’s easy to upload a scan or photographs for secure cloud storage in our online vault. We’ll also register it on our national will register for free. This ensures a record exists in the event of fire, theft or natural disaster and that your family can locate your will.
We recommend reviewing your will every year to make sure it’s still up to date. It's especially important if your KiwiSaver holds $15,000 or more, if you have kids, or a house.
It's important to review your will regularly, especially after any significant events or changes in your life like welcoming a new baby, ending or starting a relationship, and buying or selling a home or business.
Yes. The best way to do this is by creating a new will that revokes your previous will. Getting married or destroying the physical document will also cancel your will.
Dying without a will is called dying intestate. If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed according to the law (the Administration Act 1969), not according to your wishes. The rules of the Act vary depending on whether you’re survived by a spouse or partner, have children or your parents are still alive.
The law could determine that:
If there is a spouse or partner, but no parents or children: The spouse receives the entire estate.
If there is a spouse or partner and children: Dependent on the value of your estate, some will pass to your spouse, but some will also go to your children.
The people you care about most may not be looked after, and it could take a long time and cost a lot of money to resolve matters. This could cause extra distress for your loved ones, during their time of grief.
Custody will remain with any parent who is still alive. However, if you need someone to advise on important life decisions for your children, you can name a testamentary guardian who can help look after their best interests. This might relate to education or staying in touch with family members. Testamentary guardians can also apply for full custody in the absence of a fit parent.
A testamentary guardian (guardian named in a will) makes the 'big decisions' when the parents can't - for instance about the child's education and care. This person would be the person who looks after your kids if neither parent can. For day-to-day care of a child, the testamentary guardian may need to apply to the Court to become a legal guardian. It is important to first talk with the person you are wanting to be the testamentary guardian to ensure they are willing, comfortable and accepting of the responsibility this holds.
An executor is the person or organisation you choose that is responsible for carrying out the instructions in your Will as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
The responsibilities include applying for court approval to handle the estate (Grant of Administration, otherwise known as probate), locating all beneficiaries, collecting and selling assets and paying estate debts and administration expenses, distributing to beneficiaries and managing any claims against the estate. The duties expected of an executor can be difficult, demanding and time consuming.
You can appoint Public Trust as your executor or an executor can receive support through Public Trust’s Executor Assist service. See more about executor assist here.
A trustee is a person or organisation responsible for holding your assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries under your Will.
For example, where a beneficiary of a will is a child the estate may be invested in a trust until they come of age. The executor usually also takes on the role of trustee.
Yes, if there are doubts around the validity of the will, or other reasons including if a person you had a responsibility to provide for believes you haven't left them a fair share or haven’t made adequate provision for them.
It is possible for your will in New Zealand to deal with your overseas assets and liabilities, however, depending on the country the assets are held in and the value and the type of these assets, it may be best to have a Will in that country.
Come in and talk to one of our Trustees to get advice about whether you need to have a will for your overseas assets or not.
For a Public Trust expert to make or witness your will, we need your proof of identity and your proof of address. Find out what kinds of documents are accepted on our identity page.
If you have a Relationship Property Agreement or a Family Trust Deed, you will need to refer to them as you make your will.
That is a myth; your KiwiSaver will be paid to your estate once you pass away. This is a more straightforward process if you have a will in place, the same as any other assets you may have .
If you have at least $15,000 in your KiwiSaver (or other assets), you definitely should get a will put in place. If you die without a will, NZ Law determines who will receive the funds in your estate and this could process could take anywhere between 6 and 24 months.
Our online platform allows you to create your will from the comfort of your own home. This means you can go at your own pace, look up information as you need it, and talk with your loved ones throughout the process. If you need any assistance, our customer support team is just a phone call or online chat away to answer any questions and provide guidance or technical assistance.
The cost of writing a will depends on the complexity of your situation. Not to worry though – at Public Trust, we have affordable options for all situations.