Consider these recent statistics.
• Those living north of Auckland were the next worst for not making provisions in the event of their death, with 52 per cent not having a will, followed by those in the central North Island, 46 per cent, and the South Island, 42 per cent.
• Those aged 25-39 are the worst, with only 34 per cent having one.
Dying intestate can be costly.
If you die without a will or your will is deemed to be invalid, then you are said to have died intestate. In this event, administration of your estate is entirely determined by legislation and not you. Your wishes are not relevant.
Reviewing your Will
It is good practice to review your Will on a regular basis. Life takes its course and situations change. We have compiled a list indicating some of the situations that could prompt you to alter your Will:
- The birth of a child
- The commencing of a relationship
- The ending of a relationship
- The death of a family member, executor or beneficiary
- The changing value in any of your assets
- The receiving of a large inheritance
- Moving countries, or
- The purchase of a home or business.
There are certain events that will automatically change your present Will. Under these circumstances, a revision or renewal of your Will should necessarily be conducted. These events include
- Getting married
- Getting divorced and
- The birth of a child or adoption of children.
- Dying intestate
We are often asked what happens if a person dies without a Will. If this situation occurs you are said to have died intestate. The administration of your estate is then governed by the provisions of the Administration Act 1969 which sets out a statutory regime to be strictly followed. Your wishes are unfortunately not relevant.
What else should you consider?
We also recommend that you regularly review your entire estate planning structure. People are inclined to view estate planning in terms of investments, property, finances and assets. Yes, it is all of these things but the focus of proper estate planning should be the individuals who will benefit from your efforts and legacy. This may initially be yourself and your partner but will obviously need to include your children and possibly other loved ones after your death. Failure to have an appropriate estate planning structure in place can have disastrous consequences for all concerned.
Our lawyers at Auckland law firm, Quay Law (situated in Remuera) recommend that you seek professional legal advice with regard to both your Will and any related estate planning aspects. Your lawyer can provide you with the requisite advice and guidance to ensure that your affairs are in order and that your wishes can effectively be implemented once you have passed away. This will give you the certainty and peace of mind that your loved ones are looked after in the manner you intended.
Please feel free to contact Ian Mellett (BComm LLB H Dip Tax) at Auckland law firm Quay Law for more information, or if you have any questions regarding your will or estate planning needs visit our law firm website www.quaylaw.co.nz or www.yourwill.co.nz for more information.