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Tough Questions: Are you prepared for the future?

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Kate and Leon.

When Public Trust set out to discover how many Kiwis have made plans for the future, telling research revealed that 55%* of us don’t even have a Will. In the first of four articles, we explain how to safeguard your family and assets.

This month, Public Trust, one of New Zealand’s largest providers of Wills, Trusts, Estate Administration and Management, launched “Tough Questions”, a hard-hitting nationwide campaign aimed at raising Kiwis’ awareness of the need to plan for their future.

New Zealand’s increasingly diverse society means that now more than ever before, it’s important to take action to safeguard family and property, says Matt Sale, General Manager Retail of Public Trust.

“Every adult New Zealander should have a Will,” he says. “Today, we live in a diverse society that’s undergoing huge change, with increasing numbers of blended-family situations. Having a Will gives you a voice after you’re gone, allowing you to specify how you want your personal matters managed.”

Ideally, your Will should be paired with an Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA), enabling you to choose a trusted friend, relative or organisation such as Public Trust to make important decisions on your behalf if you’re unable. There are two types of EPAs to consider: one for your personal care and welfare and another for your property. Your Personal Care Attorney will look after your welfare, if you’re deemed medically unable to do so, while your Property Attorney will manage your financial and property-related matters.

As part of its Tough Questions campaign, Public Trust interviewed a group of couples, asking them some of life’s big questions. Leon and Kate, pictured above, are typical of 55%* of Kiwis without a Will in place, so their families may be faced with uncertain decisions about how to honour their life and their wishes. Asking Tough Questions now ensures a detailed plan that gives you peace of mind - the knowledge that your assets are protected and your loved ones are taken care of after you die or if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.

Kiwis’ needs in the 21st century are ever-changing, and it’s vital they ask the Tough Questions as a family. “Those questions can be really hard to bring up, because we often don’t have the answers,” says Matt Sale. “We’ve developed offerings like Personal Assist and Executor Assist to help people feel like they do have options, and someone is there to help them in their time of need. Personal Assist manages your property and financial matters if you’re unable. It can help you remain independent without needing to rely on family and friends. A dedicated Public Trust Adviser can step in, doing as much or as little as you need, giving you the peace of mind of being in control without the stress,” says Sale. 

Executor Assist extends Public Trust’s recognised expertise in estate administration to privately appointed executors and trustees. Being asked to be an Executor of a Will is an honour, but it’s also a big responsibility. “You require an understanding of legal and accounting processes, which carries the risk of personal liability,” says Sale. “With Executor Assist, we have created a way in which we can provide value to more New Zealanders without Public Trust having to be named as Executor and Trustee in a Will. Executor Assist is designed to help you manage the process, taking care of some or all of the requirements.”

Tough Questions is a call to action every New Zealander should heed. Asking the tough questions now, planning for the future and keeping up-to-date is important.

How prepared are you? See how many Tough Questions you can answer in the “Tough Questions Quiz”.

*Kantar TNS survey (Oct-Dec 2016)