What you need to know about creating a will

Closeup of hand with fountain pen over blank paper

Where there’s a will, there’s a way for you to be sure that your affairs are managed the way you want them to be. Everyone should have one and it’s easier than you think…

Why do you need one?

When you die, a will provides invaluable certainty and practical guidance during an emotional time. It deals with important matters such as your assets, who you want to be the guardian of your kids, and how your items of sentimental value are distributed.

How do you get one?

If you don’t have one, or if your current will is out of date then it’s a good idea to get on to it sooner rather than later. You could make your own, but a homemade will is more likely to be inappropriate and ineffective. Getting legal advice will present you with options that you may not have even considered (such as life interests and inheritance trusts) that better achieve your goals. The cost depends on how complicated your estate is, but having a clear idea of what you want and a list of your assets and debts can make for a shorter and more cost-effective consultation.

What should it include?

Your will should name at least one person who’ll be the executor – the person who’ll carry out your wishes. This could be a family member or friend, but if you have a lot to untangle, it’d be wise to also choose a professional such as your lawyer or accountant.

It should include information about:

  • Who will be the guardians of your children.
  • Any specific gifts you want to make (such as jewellery or sentimental items) and cash gifts to particular people, such as grandchildren.
  • How you’ll provide for your partner and children.
  • How you’d like your assets to be distributed and any debts to be settled.
  • Any gifts you’d like to make to charity.
  • How to manage your business, if you own one.

You may also like to create a ‘living’ will that outlines what you’d like to happen if you get sick and can’t take responsibility for your care.

How often should you update it?

A will takes effect after you die, so it doesn’t affect your day-to-day choices, and you can change it at any time – it’s up to you. In any case, it’s a good idea to review it every five years or so, and if your circumstances change – for example, if you marry, enter or end a relationship, buy a house, or become parents or grandparents.

Wills aren’t registered – your lawyer will hold on to it for you and you’ll be given a copy. At Rice Craig we have a specially dedicated safe room, to keep your will safe. We check our system every day for death notices, and have dedicated staff to administer estates promptly, respectfully and diligently. Having been in Papakura since 1924, your will is safe with us.

Get in touch with us today!