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Where there’s a Will, there’s a way
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By: David Haigh
Travel often brings about people rushing to either create or amend their Will before a planned trip. Kiwis are more likely to think about Wills when a major event occurs, such as marriage (or its failure), childbirth, buying a home, or international travel. The reality is, the time to plan your estate and make a Will is now because when you really need it, it will be too late.
A Will is a legal document which provides for the distribution of your assets to named beneficiaries. For most people, this will be easy to determine. It also allows you to record any guardianship wishes for children and any special funeral arrangements. A Will may also include any specific gifts such as jewellery, medals, artwork or furniture, or cash payments you may want to make, whether to family, charity or other organisations.
Everyone over the age of 18 years should have a valid Will. It should take account of any major life changes, such as marriage or separation, as marriage revokes your Will automatically unless you state otherwise.
Something else to consider is putting Enduring Powers of Attorney in place. This provides authority for someone you know and trust to manage your legal affairs.
When it comes to writing a Will, we suggest you obtain professional advice. The cost is not great, especially when you consider the alternative. If you don’t have a Will, or if it is invalid for some reason, then what you would like to happen with your assets may not take place. If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the Administration Act. That is, the law determines who gets what regardless of what you may have wanted, or the needs of family members.
Lawyers often see families emotionally struggling to deal with what is left behind following the death of a loved one. That struggle is heightened when the loved one dies without a Will or a Will that is inadequate.
So, whether it’s travel that prompts you into action, or some other life event, get it done for the sake of those that are left behind.
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