Most of the population don’t have wills

Recent research released from Perpetual Guardian (www.stuff.co.nz; 02/05/15) reveal many individuals leave making their first will until late in life – approximately 60-69 years of age; amongst older people with wills, 13% made their first will between 18-29 years of age; and 24% did so between 30-59 years of age.

These are alarming figures, given the reality every individual will face at some point in time (their death); and the impact dying without a will has on the loved ones, families and business partners left behind. Lawyers know that ‘where there’s a will, there’s a relative'; they also know the considerable costs dying intestate (without a will) has on a deceased’s estate. Relatives left behind incur personal costs: the emotional impact, stress and work they have to do, to sort out the mess left behind. It can be so easily avoided with forethought and respect for others.

Be courageous – have the Conversations that Count!

What are the conversations that count? They’re the discussions about getting all your personal affairs in order before it is too late to do so (wills, enduring powers of attorney, guardianship for children, memorandum of wishes, funeral details, recording digital assets and so on) AND Advanced Care Plans – the process of thinking, talking and planning for future and end-of-life care. Pakeha/European culture is largely death-denying which is a significant barrier to these important discussions. Yet, thinking about your death enables you to think about your life; thinking about your life enables you to consider what you may want to change or add into your life while you can; and thinking about your life and death reminds you that until you die, you are in the business of living.

Be bold. Start and finish the difficult conversations. Get your affairs in order. Get onto the business of living well.

Winston Churchill Fellowships – applications now open

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill’s death and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust are offering additional fellowships this year to recognise this. The fellowships are open to any person interested in researching a topic that will benefit their organisation, their sector or community, etc. As a recipient of a fellowship many years ago, I encourage you all to read about the Trust, the work they do and the requirements of the fellowship. Please spread the information around to all you know.  Email wcmt@dia.govt.nz for details.