Stratford Press

SEPTEMBER is Wills Month

- Writes Kem Ormond

This September New Zealand marks Wills Month, an annual reminder to create or update this all-important record of what you want to happen when you die.

If you haven’t made a will or updated it recently and you have a family, or you have assets, you need to get on to making a will. This will ensure that you have made the best plans possible for the people and causes you care about.

The last thing you want is for something to happen and you have not taken the time to have put a will in place. This will turn into a major headache for the ones you have left behind.

It may surprise you to know that 50 per cent of New Zealanders don’t have a will.

Depending on your situation wills can be as simple as finding a blank template online, filling it in, getting it signed and witnessed, and lodging it with a lawyer of your choice. However, creating or updating a more in-depth will requires the help and advice from a lawyer or a Public Trust and this service will be invaluable.

What makes a will valid?

To be considered valid, a will must be written by someone of sound mind who is not being coerced or unduly influenced. To avoid any doubt and trouble when applying for probate, you can get a testamenta­ry medical certificat­e from your doctor at the time of signing the will.

Leaving a bequest

Providing for your loved ones is of course your main priority, but you may also wish to consider leaving a bequest to a cause or a charity, or to the community that has enabled your success in life. You may have definite ideas on what organisati­on you would like to bequeath some of your funds to. It could be your local SPCA, Hospice, Starship Hospital or Salvation Army and it is usually because they have touched your life in some way.

If you would like to bequeath something to your community, contact your local Community Foundation and they will ensure your generosity will benefit causes that will have the greatest impact in your community. Community foundation­s around New Zealand are made up of local people who are passionate about where they live. They are strongly connected to the community and tuned in to local needs.

And on a final note . . .

Once your will is done, another step that would make life easier for your family is to compile a list of wishes when you pass.

A folder with your funeral requests will remove so much stress for your family. Add to your folder your favourite photos for your service sheet, hymns, flowers you prefer, music, readings or you could even write your own eulogy if you wanted!

The more you organise. . . the easier for your family.

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