Why do you need a will?

Written by: Georgina Pauling and Mary Huang
Sep 13 2022

It makes a difficult time easier

Making a will is essential, but easy to put off.

For many, it’s hard to think and talk about the information required to prepare a will. Asking revealing and highly emotive questions like, who will look after my children, is confronting.

However, not having a will can make a time of sadness even more distressing for your loved ones.

The sooner you make a will the better. A will provides peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. The last thing you want to be doing during the final hours of your life is to be discussing your will instructions with your lawyer. If this is not reason enough to make your will now, then here are four more reasons why you need a will:

You can speak from the grave

The most basic reason to have a will is to give yourself a voice when you no longer have one. If you pass away without a will then your assets are distributed according to New Zealand’s intestacy laws which may not align with your wishes.

 By having a will and being prepared, your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes.

Control over your assets

Every family goes through a difficult and emotional time when someone passes away. These emotions can manifest in odd and often uncontrollable ways. For example, the family heirloom that everyone has had their eye on over the years can create severe ructions within the family.

What stops the bickering? A will. It enables you to control the distribution of assets to who you want, minimizing the likelihood of dispute between family members, and helps to stop arguments before they even begin (hopefully).

If you have a family heirloom or chattels that are of sentimental value, you can specify who those items are gifted to. You can also leave instructions for the care of your pets.

Your dependents

A will is key for specifying how you want your children or surviving spouse to be looked after. You can appoint a testamentary guardian to care for your children in the event something happens to both parents and/or to act alongside the surviving parent for input into important decisions regarding your child’s upbringing, school choice and place of residence.

Funeral wishes

Wills are about more than just your assets. It is a sensitive subject but often people want their funerals to go a certain way. Funeral instructions can be included in a will, anything from whether to be buried or cremated, through to who speaks at the funeral and what songs are on the playlist.   

Haigh Lyon’s trust and estate planning team can provide valuable advice and assistance when creating a will. For more information contact Georgina Pauling on 09 985 2527 or [email protected] or Mary Huang on 09 985 2536 or [email protected].