There is a vast number of people in New Zealand who don’t think it’s necessary to make a Will.
Perhaps you think that because you don’t own a house, or investments that it’s not worth taking the time and trouble to make a Will. Unfortunately, if you do not, you may leave your family and friends with hidden costs and problems to deal with when you pass.
If you have a KiwiSaver, then you have an asset. If your KiwiSaver has more than $15,000.00 in it then your Will needs to be probated (don’t know what that is – click here). If you don’t have a Will, then instead of a simple probate process, the family (or friends!) you leave behind will need to apply to the High Court for what is called Letters of Administration.
Letters of Administration
Letters of Administration involve an application to appoint someone to look after your estate and find beneficiaries and distribute your things to them. This person will also do things like:
- Help to organise your funeral
- Close your bank accounts
- Shut your power and phone accounts down
- Finalise your rental agreement or sell your house
- Cut off your insurances
Don’t be fooled, Letters of Administration is a costly and time-consuming process, and by comparison, probate is efficient and straightforward. Don’t leave behind an expensive mess, because there are some things that your family will need to pick up the tab for, like this application.
What if I am married?
If you are married and you own everything jointly (joint bank accounts, joint house) then the process is slightly different, but the Will is still essential to your family for directing things that aren’t joint, like a life insurance policy, or your classic car, your boat or that secret savings account.
How do I Create a Will?
A Will can be straightforward to create and won’t break the bank. We do simple Wills here at Morrison Kent for $400+GST (or $650+GST for a couple to get a similar Will each). By comparison Letters of Administration could be $10,000.00 or more if you have a large family or not much is known about your estate.
Being aware of these hidden costs and planning for the unexpected to avoid leaving your family with large bills and complicated processes for dealing with your estate is very valuable. The clear solution is to make a will.
If you want to look into getting a Will, then contact Andrew on 04 495 8921 or one of our other trusts and estate specialists today. We even have a handy Will Questionnaire to help you – contact us to find out more.