I made my will back in the 80’s. Why should I update it?
Just like times change, your will may also need to change – so it’s important to keep it up to date.
You’ve built a life around the things and people that matter most. An up-to-date will is the best way to protect your legacy and share it with the people you love. If you last made a will back in the days of cassette tapes and telethons, it may be time for an update.
As a general rule, we advise people to review their wills if they’ve experienced a ‘significant life change’. This could be any number of things. A new relationship or a divorce, for instance. A new human joining the family (child/grandchild). Maybe you’ve purchased a new home or even started a new business. There’s no conclusive list, but you get the idea.
Of course, sometimes these things creep up on you, or. You’re just too busy watching Netflix. Either way, it’s a good idea to check your will at least every five years. For more on updating wills, head to our ‘7 reasons to update your will’ Article.
My family knows me so well. Why do I need to update my will?
Even if your Family are clear on your wishes after you die, if your wishes are not outlined in a will, it will not happen, this is called an intestacy, or dying intestate.
If a person’s assets don’t exceed more than $15,000*their estate is considered a small estate and can be administered and distributed by their next of kin. If a person has over $15,000* worth of assets or owns property, then formal administration of the estate is required by law and certain legal processes must be followed to administer and distribute the person’s estate.
When your wishes are clearly outlined in a legal document, it gives everyone the certainty they need, and ensures nothing is overlooked or your wishes are not forgotten. Having a will helps ensure the people and things you love are looked after and gives your family peace of mind during the grieving process.
If you haven’t updated your will in a long time, it’s important to review it and consider updating it. Save your loved ones' stress by making your will today.
*The $15,000 small estate cap applies to assets within a single institution (i.e. Kiwisaver account, bank, etc.). To find out more about whether this applies to your estate give us a call.
What if I’ve lost touch with the executor of my will?
If your appointed executor cannot administer your estate, your family will have to apply to the courts to appoint a new executor - this can add additional delay, cost and stress at an already difficult time.
Deciding who your executor will be is something you want to carefully consider. Yes, it can be a big honour, but it’s also a big responsibility and can take up a lot of time – often months, sometimes years! Your executor’s job is to carry out the instructions in your will. Aside from distributing your assets, this also includes plenty of administrative tasks like closing bank accounts, paying off debts and taxes, selling property and even helping with funeral plans.
It's worth considering a professional trustee organisation, like Public Trust, as your executor. As a Crown Entity, we will always be there to administer your estate and this gives you the reassurance of an executor who is impartial and has the right expertise. If you do choose someone else, we also offer a support service for executors, Executor Assist. There are fees relating to estate administration, and we can discuss with you what your estate is likely to cost.
For more info about executors and how to choose one, take a look at our past blog post, which includes a handy 2-minute video.
Can I make sure my niece gets my record collection?
We all have special things we want to protect and share with the people we love when we pass away.
It could be your record collection, your mum’s diamond earrings or even your vintage car! If it’s important to you, put it in your will.
This is the best way to protect your legacy – and your prized possessions and gives clear instructions to your executor.
You can gift as many of your possessions as you wish, however this may mean that the administration of your estate is more time-consuming and costly. So, you might want to consider handing over special items whilst you're still alive.