Having a will is an important way to ensure that your assets, including any KiwiSaver funds, are distributed according to your wishes on your death.
If you die intestate (without a will) your assets will be held until Letters of Administration have been granted by the Court. Until such time, no one can access your estate assets and it is a more costly and longer process than if you have a will.
Once Letters of Administration have been granted, your estate will be distributed as prescribed by the Administration Act 1969, not as per your own wishes.
Here are a few scenarios of how your assets will be distributed if you die intestate:
• If you have a spouse or partner but no children, parents or other descendants then your spouse or partner will receive your entire estate.
• If you have a spouse or partner and children or other descendants, then your spouse or partner will receive the personal chattels plus $155,000 (plus interest) and 1/3 of the remainder of the estate. The children will receive the remaining 2/3 of the estate unless your children have died, in which case their children will receive their share.
• If you have a spouse or partner and parents but no children, then the spouse or partner will receive the personal chattels plus $155,000 (plus interest) and 2/3 of the remainder of the estate. Your parents will receive the remaining 1/3 of the estate.
• If you have children and no spouse or partner then the children will receive the whole estate, unless any of them have died, in which case their children will receive their share.
• If you have no spouse or partner and no children then the whole estate is divided between the parents or if only one is alive that parent will receive the whole estate.
If you need any assistance with Letters of Administration or writing a will then do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the members of our estate planning team