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Do I Need a Will?

 

The death of a loved one is a hard enough time as it is, and if you die without leaving behind a Will you can cause your friends and family a lot of added stress, heartache and tension. In order for your wishes to be carried through and to aid in your loved ones’ grieving process it is important to leave a Will.

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When someone dies without leaving a Will, this is called dying ‘intestate.’ Many people mistakenly assume that if they die intestate the entirety of their property will go to their partner, but this is very rarely the case. In New Zealand, if you die without leaving a Will your estate will be split up according to a strict formula which may not resemble the result you would have wanted:

  • If you die leaving only your partner… All of your estate goes to your partner.
  • If you die leaving a partner and children… In this situation your partner gets all of your personal possessions and the first $121,500 of the estate, plus one-third of whatever money is left in your estate. The remaining two-thirds of what’s left will be split between your children.
  • If you die leaving a partner and one or both of your parents… Your partner gets all of your personal possessions and the first $121,500 of your estate, plus two-thirds of whatever is left of your estate. Your parents will receive the remaining one-third.
  • If you die leaving children only… Your entire estate will be divided equally between your children.
  • If you die leaving only your parents… Your entire estate will be split between your parents.
  • If you die leaving only your siblings… Your entire estate will be split between your siblings.
  • If you die leaving only your grandparents, uncles and aunties… If your grandparents are living, your entire estate will be divided up equally between your maternal and paternal grandparents. If you have no living grandparents, their share of the estate will be divided equally between your uncles and aunties.
  • If none of the above categories fit… If you have no living relatives, your entire estate will be given to the Crown.

While the rules appear generous, it is important for you to consider the relationships you have with each of your family members – for instance, would you necessarily want your siblings having an equal share? If there has at some point been a family feud, would you be unhappy with certain people having claim to your estate?

The rules of intestacy also leave no room for any other wishes you may have had. For instance, an animal lover may want to give a portion of their estate to the SPCA, or you may have specific wishes for what should happen to your body. Without leaving a Will it is impossible for these wishes to be seen through.

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Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies. 

 

 

 

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Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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