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 do I want to happen with my assets after I pass away?’ and ’what would I like to happen at my funeral?’.
While it can feel like an awkward topic to get into – talking about death and the future are important conversations and having them is an act of love for those you care about.
Once a person is diagnosed with dementia, life changes quickly. The person with dementia may start having trouble looking after their wellbeing, their property and their finances, and need help with these tasks.
Fast forward, and they may be able to complete these tasks to varying degrees of success – or not manage them at all on their own.
The number of New Zealanders living with dementia is expected to almost triple to 170,000 by 2050*.
This World Alzheimer’s Month, Public Trust is calling on Kiwi to start the conversation with their loved ones about who might look after their financial affairs and wellbeing in the event of a dementia diagnosis, and to get their enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) sorted.
New research commissioned by Public Trust in its 150th year reveals 65% of parents and guardians with children aged under five in New Zealand do not have a will, highlighting a common misconception that people believe they don’t have assets worth protecting, or that they’re too young to need a will.
This Wills Week 2023, brought to you by Public Trust and running from 17 to 23 July, Public Trust is working hard to disprove these misconceptions and boost the number of New Zealanders with wills. The overall aim of Wills Week is to educate New Zealanders on the importance of protecting the things that matter for the people that matter and empower them with the confidence to write their will.
You might think you don’t have enough assets to leave in a will, but new research shows 85 percent of people want to leave a legacy that goes beyond money and assets and instead make sure they’re passing on things like values to live by, happiness and a good upbringing.
Wills Week 2023, brought to you by Public Trust, runs from 17 to 23 July and aims to show New Zealanders the importance of protecting their legacy and empower them with the confidence to write their will. Nearly 50% of New Zealanders over 18 have a will in place, and we are working hard to significantly boost that number.
Most young families are without adequate protection for their children, assets and legacies if parents die, new research reveals.
The research, commissioned by Public Trust in its 150th year, shows 65% of parents and guardians with children aged under five do not have a will.
This improves slightly in families with older children – among parents and guardians with school aged children, 54% do not have a will in place, and this decreases to 46% among parents and guardians with older children.
Glenys Talivai, Public Trust CEO, says the research findings are “concerning”.
New research commissioned by Public Trust in its 150th year shows 39 percent of Kiwi say their biggest concern is having enough money for their own retirement.
“For most New Zealanders, their KiwiSaver investment will be a tool to help fund their retirement,” says David Callanan, Public Trust General Manager Corporate Trustee Services.
“I encourage everyone to check their KiwiSaver investment to ensure that they have the appropriate settings for their situation. This includes making sure your contribution rates are sufficient to help set you up for the lifestyle you’d like to enjoy in your retirement.”
Public Trust employed some of the first women in the Public Service from 1892 — a year before women won the right to vote in New Zealand.
In 1892, Maud Harrap transferred from the Postal Department to the Public Trust Office as a short-hand typist and became the first woman on staff. Maud was joined later that year by Susan Dimant, and, in 1895, by Julia Skerrett and Emily Smythe, all as short-hand typists.
2023 marks a special anniversary for Public Trust, 150 years since it was established as the world’s first public trustee services organisation.
The Crown entity is now well-known for its provision of estate planning services, including wills and enduring powers of attorney (EPAs), but what is less known is that it was set up to protect some of our society’s most vulnerable people.
Late nineteenth century New Zealand society was haphazard; settlers lived dangerously and moved frequently around the country and beyond. Women and children were particularly vulnerable if widowed or orphaned, as appointed estate trustees had a habit of disappearing.
Leanne Shallish, Principle Trustee at the Invercargill Customer Centre, spoke to journalist Sneha Johari about the trends in the region and the increase in last-minute wills.
An increase in the number of requests for last-minute wills is being attributed to an increase in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease rates in Southland, and throughout New Zealand.
Public Trust in Invercargill principal trustee Leanne Shallish said these diseases, along with an ageing population, were responsible for the increase.
“Wills need to be made while someone is mentally capable. With many seniors now living in retirement complexes, it is possible that wills are encouraged or even required by complexes before people move into them,” she said.
As first-home buyers slog to save a mountainous deposit then face the stress and subsequent excitement of buying their first home they should also grapple with something else – death.
Glenys Talivai, CEO of the Public Trust, said it’s important when buying a first home to also write a will to protect the biggest purchase most people ever make, yet too few people do this.
Public Trust research shows only 26% of people aged 35 to 44 have a will. While 45% of that group are actively considering one, the research shows 65% of parents and guardians of children under five do not have a will.
“We encourage advisers to wholly understand the needs of clients, which is more than just the financial outcomes.”
That was the message from David Callanan, GM Corporate Trustee Services at Public Trust, about responsible investing in the latest Asset magazine.
Callanan says there’s a strong expectation from KiwiSaver members in particular that they're getting a good product from a responsible investing perspective.
Callanan speaks about responsible investing from a supervisor point of view — Public Trust supervises more than a third of all KiwiSaver providers in New Zealand. He also covers climate-related disclosure reporting in the latest spring issue of the magazine.
Read the magazine via this link (David’s interview is on pages 12-13).
Public Trust CEO Glenys Talivai was interviewed by Woman magazine for this article on why it's important for those in blended families to have a will.
Hastings Trustee James Ross was interviewed by the Hastings Leader, and also featured online in the Hawke's Bay Today, about the importance of having a will.
"Nearly 50 per cent of New Zealanders over 18 have a will in place, and the Public Trust is working hard to significantly boost that number," the article explained.
"In July, the Public Trust celebrated Will Awareness Week by releasing commissioned research that shows leaving a legacy matters. The research revealed an increasing interest in and value placed on “emotional” legacy, which is less about finances and more about passing on values, taonga and heirlooms.
Public Trust CEO Glenys Talivai explained legacies can be many different things and go beyond money and assets — a legacy can also be about passing on family traditions and values, a favourite artwork passed through generations, or a sentimental jewellery item."
David Callanan, General Manager Corporate Trustee Services (CTS), was interviewed in the Spring issue of Informed Investor, talking about KiwiSaver, retirement savings, and investing over the long term.
“New Zealanders are not leaving money to their children the way they used to - and many are not able to. Not only are times tough, but we're living longer and older people need the money for themselves.
As part of a study to ‘better understand and quantify New Zealander attitudes and actions around intergenerational wealth’, Public Trust commissioned a quantitative survey of more than 1000 Kiwis.”
“Nick Combs is a new senior portfolio manager in the Public Trust's investment team.
“He joins the 150-year-old Crown entity from his most recent role as Head of Investment Management at the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), where he had oversight responsibilities for managed investment schemes, including KiwiSaver schemes.”
“The ability to complete some of these processes using digital technology could significantly speed things up,” Glenys Talivai says. “We are aware the courts are looking to digitise more of their processes in general and are supportive of their work in this space.”
“At Public Trust we have a culture of care and one of our most important values is that we put people at the heart of everything we do. We take our culture work seriously and have worked with our people to articulate our values and our purpose and to put in place a framework that allows everyone to contribute to strengthening our culture.
“We’ve done a lot of work to build a diverse and inclusive workplace, where our people feel safe to speak up – to share their ideas, raise issues, contribute to improvements and most of all be confident to be uniquely themselves.”
“Figures for March have yet to be released but David Callanan, general manager of Public Trust Corporate Trustee Services - a KiwiSaver supervisor in charge of approving hardship withdrawals for multiple schemes - said he had seen a 52 per cent increase in applications between March 2022 and March 2023.”
Listen in to Mark Leishman and Public Trust chief executive Glenys Talivai discuss the importance of good estate planning on RNZ Nights.
"Public Trust chief executive Glenys Talivai said if you suspect someone has been coerced into changing their will, seek independent legal advice or alert the lawyer or trustee organisation that made the will.”