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Wills: Your 3 Options

You have 3 options when it comes to your will:

  1. No will at all
  2. Prepare your own using a will Kit
  3. Prepare your will with help from a lawyer

First, let’s talk about what happens when you don’t have one at all.

1. No Will At All

That’s called dying “intestate”, which means “died without leaving a will”. I’m sorry, but you’ve just piled lots of hassles onto the family you’ve left behind. Not only are they going to have to deal with grieving for your passing, they are also going to suffer the cost, stress and time of a special application to the High Court.  

What has the High Court got to do with it?

Because you don’t have a will, your family needs to apply for a special grant to determine two things:

  1. Who will administer the estate
  2. What will happen to the estate

They are even going to have to prove who your children are via multiple government agencies.

Until that process is complete and the High Court has granted letters of administration your assets can not be dealt with. Your family will have to use their own money to finance all this.

The cost, by the way, could be 3 to 5 times more than normal because of all the paperwork, research and applications. If you had a will, this part in the process would be easy for them.

Did you know that if you and your spose (civil union partner / de facto partner) have children together, and you were to die, your spouse doesn’t automatically inherit everything? The rules in place for intestacy surprise a lot of people.

This from LawAccess.govt.nzSource


Examples of how property is distributed under the laws of intestacy


If you would like to distribute your assets in a different way than what’s written in this list, then dying without a will is not for you.

Let’s take a look at what your options are from here.

2. Create Your Own Using A Will Kit

It’s better than having nothing at all, but they can be a bit tricky to fill in correctly without a lawyer to check it for you.

The High Court will examine it anyway. Here are 4 main things The Court is looking for:

The risk here is that your Will will be rejected, and, if that’s the case, your loved ones are back to Step One.

Let’s take a look at what else you could do.

3. Create A Will With Help From A Lawyer

If you can answer "Yes!" to the following 2 questions, then this is the best option for you:

  1. Do you have some idea on how you’d like your assets distributed?
  2. Do you want to save your family time, money and stress?

If you answered "Yes!" to those questions, let's sit down together and I’ll ask you two more very sobering questions:

  1. “If you were to die in the next 12 months, who will get your assets?”
  2. “Who do you trust as executor for your will?”

Choose your executor carefully. Think about any possible conflicts of interest they may have. And just so you know, they get involved immediately. Their first duty upon your death is caring for your body.

Here’s a list of a few more things we’ll cover:

Whatever you say, goes. And that’s the essence of a will, it is a recording of your wishes that become part of the law when you are not here to say what those wishes are.

What’s Next?

If you don’t have a will yet, I hope you’ll see the benefits of putting one in place.

If you have a will kit version, then it’s great that you’ve taken that step, but if you are concerned that the High Court may reject it for any reason, let us take a look at it for you.

Otherwise, if you’d like to join over 3000 plus clients that we have prepared wills for, give us a call and let’s make an appointment so we can talk it over with you.