Revealed: Ten last wishes made by Kiwis in their wills

Wills and estate services provider Public Trust says will-makers have left medals,  stamp and Lego collections to loved ones.
Wills and estate services provider Public Trust says will-makers have left medals, stamp and Lego collections to loved ones. Photo credit: Getty.

Wills are just as much about leaving memories as material possessions, an estate services provider says.

Should someone die, a will sets out who gets what. But according to Public Trust, for the person making the will and their loved ones, it's often the little things that hold the most value.

Public Trust CEO Glenys Talivai said half of all New Zealanders over age 25 don't have a will. People often see it as an expensive, unpleasant process, or think they need to be "old" or "rich" to have one.

However, wills can include non-material possessions such as who will get inexpensive items that hold great meaning and take care of pets - so they can bring satisfaction and even joy. 

"Creating a will gives people a sense of pride for having taken responsibility for the special relationships and possessions in their life," Talivai said.

"The most important elements of a will often aren't necessarily items of great financial value."

Top 10 unique last wishes made by Kiwis

To show the reasons for having a will are just as much about taking care of the little things, as the bigger ones, Public Trust shares ten unique wishes that have been written into wills.

1. Making people laugh

To make light of an otherwise sad time, wills can provide a gift of laughter. In one example, a person left a small sum of money for a friend and fellow card-game player along with instructions that they had to make a specific bet at the next game.

2.  Taking care of pets

It's common for will-makers to specify who will take responsibility for their pets, often leaving a set amount of money. One will-maker left $25,000 to "whomever looked after" his beloved cat.

3.  Passing on prized collections

Stamp, record and Lego collections along with medals are examples of possessions mentioned in wills.   

4. Travel

Some will-makers allocate a portion of money towards something fun and memorable, such as a trip or special experience. For example, a doting grandfather left money for his grandchildren to go on a family holiday to Disneyland. 

5. Leaving inexpensive objects with great meaning

Will-makers have left inexpensive objects - such as hats, watches and chipped teapots - to a loved one for whom they hold great value. One person left an old brush to a sibling because it had always been a joke between them.

6. Planning fresh flowers

Some people have put aside money for fresh flowers for their grave. One person left enough money to ensure their grave would be well maintained for over 50 years.

7. Going green

Some eco-conscious Kiwis have used their wills to request eco funerals using only sustainably harvested, environmentally friendly materials.

8. Starting new traditions

Jewellery is often passed down through generations, and can be used to maintain or start family traditions. In one example, a will-maker left a gold chain belonging to a grandmother to the eldest granddaughter. The wish was that this new tradition continue to each eldest granddaughter. 

9. Helping children continue hobbies

Parents have set aside money for sports clubs or music lessons to ensure their child's passion can continue even if they're not around.

10. Final words 

Some people choose to add special messages or words of gratitude to their will. In one example, a parent left a simple message of "I love you all" as the last words for their children to read.

Although anyone can have a will, under the Administration Act 1969, if a person's assets are $15,000 or less, their estate can be administered without probate.  

Public Trust recommends that people with assets of $15,000 or more (including KiwiSaver savings) should seriously consider getting a will.

For a simple online will, costs start from $69. For those with more complex needs, such as blended families and protecting assets from outside claims, Sharon Chandra at Turner Hopkins confirmed the cost of legal advice starts from $300.