Sep 14, 2018 5:04:05 PM

What to Think About When Writing a Will

Topics: Mortgages, NZ Property, NZ Property Market, NZ Mortgage Adviser, Writing a Will 0

It’s not a subject most people enjoy talking about, but it’s an important one none-the-less. Writing a will ensures your assets are distributed as you would want them. When someone passes away without a will, the law determines how their assets are divided regardless of what they or their family want. Here’s what to think about when writing a will.


  1. 1. Your Children’s Guardian

Many people decide to write their first will following the birth of a child as a means to ensuring their children are taken care of. When writing a will, you can nominate who you want to care for your children – be their guardian – until they are adults.

You can set out your wishes for your children including where and who they will live with, the type of education you would want them to have, and the key values you would like instilled in them.

When choosing a guardian for your children, consider someone with similar beliefs, lifestyle and values to your own. You may decide on someone who your child already knows and has a bond with, like a close family member or friend.

Where the guardian lives and their own future plans in terms of having children are important considerations too, as is choosing someone who has the practical and financial means to take on such a role.

  1. 2. Dividing Your Assets

Everything you own is listed in your will. If you own significant assets – like a house or car – it helps to include details of whether there is a mortgage or a loan attached to these assets. You’ll also need to note whether you own these assets individually or with a spouse or business partner.

Included in your list of assets could be smaller items too – although not as significant in value, these items may still have an intrinsic or emotional value, such as jewellery or family heirlooms.

Think about how you would like your assets distributed and who your beneficiaries will be. These could be people, charities or organisations that you wish to benefit from your estate. Anyone, including minors under the age of 18, can be a beneficiary. 

Once you have decided on your beneficiaries, include their names and contact details in your will and outline how your estate is to be distributed amongst them.

  1. 3. Appoint An Executor

Your executor is someone who will carry out your final wishes as outlined in your will. That person will manage your estate so it’s important you choose someone trustworthy and savvy enough to fulfil this role. 

In most cases, the executor is someone who is named as a beneficiary of the estate. If you have no one suitable for this role, or if there is a risk of family conflicts, you may consider nominating an attorney or an independent executor service instead. Acting on your behalf, the executor will then be paid for out of your estate. 

  1. 4. Funeral Instructions

Your will can also include instructions for funeral arrangements including whether to be buried or cremated and your wishes for organ donation. These are important considerations and often difficult topics to discuss, which is why documenting your wishes is so important. 

Writing a will can be a complex process, particularly when your circumstances are not entirely straightforward. We highly recommend you seek the advice of a specialist to ensure your final wishes are correctly recorded.

Contact a Mortgage Express adviser for help with reviewing the status of your finances before writing your will.


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