I was just reading an article that stated that 55% of New Zealand adults don’t have a will. That’s pretty staggering and is partly probably down to our "she’ll be right" attitude.
Many people don’t like thinking about death, let alone talking about it. That said, having a will is one of the most important things you can do. But why you may ask?
Well, there are a few legal things about wills that you may not realise, or what a lack of a will can cause. Apart from the almost inevitable in fighting not having a will can cause, there's the misdistribution of your assets. Did you know that, if you die without a will or ‘intestate’, your partner can end up sharing your estate with your children, even when your partner is the other parent. If there are no children, your partner can end up sharing your estate with your parents. If you just want your assets to go to your partner - you need to write a will.
Now, you might be asking what's a good time to set up a will, and I say now! It's best to have your wishes down on paper so everything moves smoothly and how you want it to be done. But if you need more convincing to write up a will here’s some more facts; divorce does not cancel your will but it does effectively remove your former spouse as a beneficiary. Effectively, your will is read as if your former spouse died before you. While separation is completely different, if you are in a relationship and separate, your last will still applies. It is important to, therefore, update your will at the earliest time possible to ensure your beneficiaries are current.
Another thing to remember is that when we get married, the will written before marriage is no longer valid. So it’s time to update!
So, if you do nothing else today, at least make sure that your Will is up-to-date – it’s all about protecting your loved ones!