Good rea­sons to have a will

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - ALAN KNOWSLEY LE­GAL MAT­TERS

One of the ma­jor prob­lems that peo­ple en­counter with their will is that ei­ther they have not got around to mak­ing it, or they made it so long ago it is no longer rel­e­vant to their sit­u­a­tion.

If you marry then your prior will is no longer valid but if you di­vorce, your will re­mains ef­fec­tive. Not many peo­ple will want their prop­erty to go to their ex fol­low­ing a di­vorce (now called a dis­so­lu­tion), so you need to up­date your will. Equally if you sep­a­rate, your will leav­ing your prop­erty to your ex also needs up­dat­ing.

A change in your cir­cum­stances is a good time to make or up­date your will.

No one wants usu­ally to think about what will hap­pen when they die, but there are sit­u­a­tions when for­ward plan­ning and get­ting every­thing in place will be vi­tal to the wel­fare of those loved ones you leave be­hind.

As an ex­am­ple, if you have young chil­dren, do you want to have a say in who looks af­ter them should you die? If you do have a will you can en­sure that your guardian­ship wishes are fol­lowed in the event of your death.

We rec­om­mend reg­u­larly re­view­ing your will, gen­er­ally ev­ery five years, es­pe­cially if your sit­u­a­tion changes. You may have made a will years ago but not looked at it since, and it may no longer re­flect your cur­rent wishes.

You should con­sider whether any of the fol­low­ing are rel­e­vant for you, as they may present an oc­ca­sion when you need to make a new will or up­date your cur­rent one: The birth of a child Get­ting mar­ried or en­ter­ing into a civil union

Sep­a­rat­ing or di­vorc­ing from a part­ner or spouse Buy­ing or sell­ing prop­erty Set­ting up a new busi­ness Over­seas travel (es­pe­cially if this will be for an ex­tended pe­riod of time). A will is a very im­por­tant doc­u­ment as it gives le­gal ef­fect to your wishes and in­ten­tions in pro­vid­ing for your loved ones.

How­ever, un­less it is care­fully drafted, prop­erly signed, and ap­pro­pri­ately wit­nessed it will have no le­gal ef­fect.

It is a very im­por­tant doc­u­ment so the re­quire­ments are very tech­ni­cal and get­ting them wrong can in­val­i­date the whole will.

Some is­sues can be fixed up by seek­ing to have the will val­i­dated but that will be an ex­pen­sive and

‘‘ You may have made a will years ago but not looked at it since, and it may no longer re­flect your cur­rent wishes.’’

lengthy process in court, so it is bet­ter to get the process right.

If you want to leave any­one out of your will it is also im­por­tant to pro­vide the rea­sons for do­ing so, e.g. that they have al­ready been pro­vided for dur­ing your life­time when other chil­dren have not or there is a greater need to care for one child (say due to a dis­abil­ity) than other chil­dren who are com­fort­ably off al­ready.

If you would like to up­date your will, or if you do not have one, see your le­gal ad­vi­sor about get­ting your af­fairs in or­der.

Col­umn cour­tesy of RAINEY COLLINS LAWYERS phone 0800 733 484 www.rain­ey­collins.co.nz. If you have a le­gal in­quiry you would like dis­cussed in this col­umn please email Alan on aknowsley@rain­ey­collins.co.nz

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