Throughout our 30 years of experience in the Insurance marketplace, there are a few key things that we always advise our clients to look into regarding their insurance. One of the most important of those things is having a will in place that is complete and current.
If you have insurance cover on your life for instance, without a current will in place specifying your wishes, your crucial claims money could be delayed or paid out in ways you did not intend.
Without a will, a person’s assets will be distributed according to their family circumstances in the following ways:
- If there is a spouse or partner, but no parents or children: The spouse receives the entire estate.
- If there is a spouse or partner and children: The spouse receives the personal effects (such as furniture, paintings, homeware), $155,000 (with interest from the date of death) and a third of anything left. Children will receive the remaining two thirds, divided equally between them.
- If there are stepchildren or a blended family: Where there are blended families the situation is more complex. Whether stepchildren are entitled to benefit from an estate will depend on several factors including the age of the stepchildren, their relationship to the deceased and whether they relied on the deceased financially. To fully understand stepchildren’s entitlements, you should make an appointment to see your nearest Public Trust Trustee.
- If there is a spouse or partner and parents, but no children: The spouse receives the personal effects (such as furniture, paintings, homeware), $155,000 (with interest from the date of death) and two thirds of anything that’s left. The deceased’s parents will receive the remaining third divided equally amongst them.
- If there are children but no spouse or partner: The children receive the entire estate; it will be shared equally among them.
- If there is no spouse or partner, no children, but there are surviving parents: The entire estate is divided equally between the parent or parents.
- If there is no spouse or partner, no children, no surviving parents but surviving siblings: The entire estate is divided equally between the siblings.
(Credit to the Public Trust for the above information.)
Fortunately, these days getting a will in place and certified is not a labour intensive or expensive process, and it is a crucial step to take. It is also equally as important to ensure that if you do have a will, that it is current and that you check it each year at the same time as your Insurance Policy Review. At this time, you can make sure that your specified dependants are exactly who you wish them to be, and make any necessary changes so that if a life insurance or critical illness claim needs to be made, the intended recipients can get the claim payout with as little stress or delay as possible.
The Public Trust of New Zealand offers services that will allow you to create your will online for as little as $69. This is a small price to pay when compared to the possibility of your life claim and estate as a whole being delayed or distributed in ways you did not intend. For more information on the process and to visit the Public Trust’s Will Service you can click here, or contact any of our team for any help that you may you need.