» «

Importance of having a Will

March 8th, 2012 -

We all know the importance of having a Will, but for many of us we delay actually making a Will, as death usually seems a long way off!  This procrastination can have significant consequences for your family and loved ones if you die intestate (that is, without making a Will).  You can avoid a lot of hassle and burden for your family by simply making an appointment to see your lawyer to make a Will. 

Under your Will you appoint a person (known as your “Executor”) to look after your estate and to distribute your net estate (that is, after all your debts and funeral expenses have been paid) to the persons you name in your Will.  These persons are known as “beneficiaries” and it is most common (though not necessarily always the case) for the deceased’s close family members to be the beneficiaries under the Will.  You can also appoint under your Will a guardian (known as a “testamentary guardian”) to care for your children; you can also specify your funeral directions; make gifts to your favourite charities and make provision for your children’s future (eg. education). 

If you do not make a Will however, you cannot be sure that certain persons have a legal obligation to carry out your wishes.  This can leave your family with unnecessary anxiety – all because you never found the time to make a Will! 

If you die intestate specific legislation (depending on your personal circumstances) will determine how your estate is to be distributed.  For example, if you are in a de facto relationship your de facto partner may be able to make a claim on half of your estate.  This may not be your intention.  Potentially, if there are no entitled persons to receive your estate, it passes to the Crown.  

Whatever your circumstances are, if you die intestate the persons recognised in law as being those entitled to administer your estate (usually your next of kin) will need to make an application to the High Court for Letters of Administration.  This is a costly exercise. 

To avoid the problems caused by intestacy you should discuss your wishes with your lawyer so that these can be recorded in your Will. 

Credit Union members are entitled to special rates at Farry and Co. Law for a selection of legal services, including a free Will with any house purchase/sale.  If you would like to know more about these services, contact your Credit Union branch or Chris Burke at Farry and Co. on 0800 327 797 or email cburke@farry.co.nz

Leave a Reply

» «