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Why, and how often, should I review my will?

 

 

By Patrick Steuart / WRMK

5 Sept, 2022

 

thumbnail A-man-hugs-his-elderly-father copy-407As life changes, so do your circumstances, assets and wishes. A thorough and up to date will ensures your wishes are respected when you die, and simplifies the administration of your estate for your grieving loved ones.

Having children, getting married, or separating from your partner all have an impact on your will. Getting married automatically renders your will invalid, but separating from your partner does not. If you had previously included your ex in your will, they will be entitled to receive that gift from you, unless you update your will. Acquiring significant assets, such as a new property or an inheritance should also prompt you to think about your will.

These days families can be complex, meaning previous relationships, children, multiple properties or family trusts all need to be considered when making your will (or else may leave your will wide open to be challenged – a stressful process for all involved). It’s also useful to consider non-financial matters, such as who will look after your children and pets, what happens to your treasured personal effects, and your funeral arrangements.

Your will also helps to facilitate the “estate administration” process when you die, by requiring you to appoint an executor(s) and trustee(s). The executor’s job is to administer the estate (e.g. act as a contact person, apply for probate). Once all of your assets have been realised and the discretionary role of the executor has finished, the trustee(s) hold the assets on Trust until such time as the assets are distributed in accordance with your will to the beneficiaries. Usually, the same person or people will be both executor and trustee.

You can appoint anyone as your executor/trustee, and you can appoint more than one, but it’s important to consider your choice carefully. The person/people you trust to carry out this important role may change over the years. When someone dies without a will, it often takes significant time, effort, and cost to deal with their estate.

As a reminder, to be valid, your will must be:

· in writing

· signed and witnessed correctly

· intended by you to take effect as a will, and 

· completed when you have legal capacity.

Working with a lawyer experienced in life planning is the most efficient way to create a comprehensive, valid will that achieves your intentions and gives you peace of mind that your loved ones will be able focus on celebrating your life, not dealing with your life admin, when you pass away.

WRMK’s local team is highly experienced at preparing and reviewing wills. Please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your requirements with you.

n To contact WRMK visit wrmk.co.nz or call (09) 470 2459.

 

A comprehensive will also considers non-financial matters, such as who will look after your children and pets, what happens to your treasured personal effects, and your funeral arrangements.


 
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