Start the important conversations with family

It might not be the first thing that springs to mind as you're standing around the barbecue or enjoying a picnic with family over summer, but having the whānau together can be a great opportunity to begin some of the 'big' conversations we all need to have.

Getting your affairs in order by sorting out your will means thinking about questions such as ‘what are my wishes for my assets?’ and ’what would I like to have happen at my funeral?’.

While it can feel like an awkward topic to get into – talking about death and the future can be difficult – these are important conversations and having them is an act of love for those you care about.

So, if you’re reconnecting with family this holiday period, we encourage you to start the conversation about your will and what you would like to have happen with your assets and the things you care about, like who has the right to make important decisions on behalf of your children.

“Having these conversations with your loved ones before they are needed benefits everyone,” says Catherine Simpson, Public Trust Head of Service Delivery – Auckland and North.

Getting your will sorted is one of the greatest things you can leave behind giving the people that matter a clear vision of how you wish to share your legacy. It also means that you will be helping to ease any emotional and financial distress on your whānau when you die as you would have clearly laid out what you want to happen with your assets and who you would like to inherit your possessions or taonga.

“Recent Public Trust research shows us that 98 percent of Kiwi want to leave a legacy, and a will can help ensure you leave the legacy you want,” Simpson says.

“Receiving something from a legacy can be meaningful for loved ones left behind because they know they were thought of by the person. If they receive a sentimental item, they have a tangible link to the loved one who died, which can help them during the grieving process,” she says.

So, how do you start these types of conversations with your family? Here are some questions you could ask.

> Ease into the conversation with some less confronting questions like have you thought about what song or flowers you might like at your funeral?

> Who would you like to receive your most sentimental items when you die?

> What would you like to happen to your assets when you die? A lot of people think everything will automatically go to their next of kin when they die, which is not always the case.

> Who would be the testamentary guardian for your children if both parents/caregivers died?

Having a will in place is one of the most important things you can do to help protect what matters for those who matter most.

Book an appointment with our Public Trust NorthWest Customer Centre team by phoning 0800 371 471. The location is 48 Maki Street, Massey North, Auckland 0614.