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.
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. 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 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.
This 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 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.
A testamentary guardian is the person you choose to care for your child in the event that both parents are no longer able to do so. 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.
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. For day-to-day care of a child, the testamentary guardian may need to apply to the Court to become a legal guardian.
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.