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You still need a Will if you are single, young or Broke (or a combination of)

Wills aren’t only for rich, old people.  It’s a fairly common misconception, and one that can lead to your family and friends struggling in the event of your death. 

The Youth.  Most young people think that they don’t need a will because they are not going to die anytime soon.  While this is statistically true, we all know the dangers of relying purely on statistics.  A lot of people don’t realise how substantial their Kiwisaver balance is.  If you’ve managed to get on the property ladder, a house is a significant asset.  You might have a life insurance policy (sometimes through your employer, or through the bank if you have a mortgage).  What you think should just happen, and what your parents, or siblings, or boyfriend / girlfriend think should just happen, might not be the same thing.  Applying the law of intestacy (which means dying without a will) might come up with a different result again.  Even if nobody wants to fight, they still have to actually work through all the admin, and without a will this admin is significantly increased. 

Where young children are involved it’s really important to consider guardianship.  If you and their other parent both die at the same time, someone needs to be able to step in immediately and you can appoint this person, the “testamentary guardian”, in your will.  If their other parent is still around, but you feel that the children need another guardian to replace you (often someone from your side of the family if you are separated from the other parent), then you need to appoint this replacement guardian in your will.      

To ensure that your assets and guardianship of your children, end up where you want it, you need to set it out in a will.  Updating your will as you move through life and (re)marry, have (more) children, win Lotto etc., is not as big a task if you are building on previous work.    

Single.  Just because you don’t have a partner doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a will.  You may still have significant assets (house, bank accounts, Kiwisaver, car, investments, life insurance), or sentimental or heirloom items, that you want distributed in a certain way.  This can all be clearly set out in a will and avoids uncertainty, or worse, bitter family relations after you are gone.  Specific burial or cremation instructions are given in will.  Instructions about care for pets can also be given in a will.  If you don’t have a partner, your will can help provide guidance to your family as to your wishes in your absence.  

Pre-rich (broke).  Money isn’t everything.  Wills can include legacy gifts (i.e. mother’s wedding ring, grandfather’s war medals), or can deal with items that hold special value, even if that value is not monetary.  You don’t need to have a high net worth to hold opinions or beliefs about how / whether you are buried or cremated, and your will is the place to set out your directions for this.  Something that often catches people by surprise is that they are not as broke as they think they are.  And if the Alana Morissette scenario happens to you and you win the lottery and die the next day, your will makes sure that your (now significantly increased) assets flow where you want them to.      

A will is an important document for every adult, particularly if you have children and/or assets, but even if you don’t.  If yours is a simple arrangement then completing your will can be a simple – but still crucial - process.  It’s much safer and more economical, to have a will “just in case” from an early age, and update it as life, your relationships, and your wealth ebb and flow.   

Come and see us to make a will; we can help make it a simple process. 

  • Posted By: Laurel Simm on Fri, 12th Apr 2019 @ 12:22:12

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