Expert reveals amount of money Kiwis need before they should get a will

An expert has revealed how much money Kiwis need before they should get a will and most people with a Kiwisaver account will have it. 

Speaking with The AM Show on Thursday, Footprint CEO Angela Vale said while people often think they don't have enough money to warrant a will, the amount is probably a lot less than they think. 

For people whose entire net worth is less than $15,000 it's not worth getting a will. But for everyone else it's incredibly important. 

"As soon as soon as you get $15,000 or more you really do need to support that with a will because it crosses a legal threshold and now it should be distributed via a will," she said. 

Vale also pointed out that most Kiwisaver account balances are above $20,000 meaning most people need a will. 

And while many people just assume their spouse or kids will get everything if they die without a will, she says that isn't always the case. 

"Sadly a lot of people think that if you pass away without a will everything just goes straight to either your spouse or your children and while that can actually happen, it's not a guarantee.

Vale said when someone dies without a will their estate is split among remaining family members, and doesn't necessarily go to the person or people they might have wanted. 

There are also financial benefits to having a will. Vale revealed when people die without one it costs 50 percent more to settle their estate and can take 50 percent longer. 

"That could mean your beneficiaries will be waiting anywhere between 12 to two years before getting what might be much-needed funds. It could mean that you're paying estate fees of $15,000 or more which is less left behind for the people you love."

But not all wills are the same, Vale said to avoid having your will challenged by disgruntled family members it's important to make sure it's well constructed. 

"Putting together a well constructed, robust will helps. Nothing can guarantee that someone won't challenge your will but having one in place for a start certainly reduces the risks. And certainly may reduce the success of a challenge."