The old saying “You get what you pay for” generally rings true.
It’s quite easy to find yourself a “free will” online now. Unfortunately in endeavouring to generate business a “free will” devalues one of the most important documents a person will ever make – a will. Worse, the product may not be achieving the outcome that is best for you and your circumstances.
Based on anecdotal evidence half of Kiwis do not have a will.
Based on hard evidence many Kiwis don’t have an up to date will.
For over a decade I have reviewed all sorts of DIY and “free” wills. More times than not, significant issues arise when the will-maker dies and their estate is being administered. Unfortunately, at that time, there are no easy fixes without all potentially affected parties agreeing on how to resolve those issues or recourse to the High Court.
So, what issues have arisen? The following are some of them:
Although some challenges to wills are unavoidable, many are. Some of the examples have cost a person’s estate and, therefore their family, thousands of dollars.
Sometimes trusts are created by a will.
Common examples of these are where part of an estate is left to beneficiaries who are children (under the age of 18), life interests and discretionary trusts for a child with a disability or special needs.
If your will creates a trust, then the Trusts Act 2019 which came into effect on 30 January 2021 applies. As a result, a will-maker will need to understand trustee duties, any changes to them, and limitation and indemnity provisions. Issues may arise with the administration of trusts created by will if these matters are not given careful consideration and tailored advice.
For a will to be personal to your situation, it should be given more time and attention than simply filling out a form. A will is one of the most important documents you will ever make and, as such, clear and detailed instructions should be taken, tailored advice provided and the will-maker should understand what they are signing.
If you do not have a will, or have an out of date one, please contact us to arrange an appointment today.