It’s not something we like to think about, but it’s important to consider what happens to your finances when you pass away. Usually if you have a will, your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, but how does it work with your KiwiSaver – what happens to it when you die?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
When you die, your KiwiSaver funds become part of your estate, along with any other assets you might have. How your KiwiSaver funds get allocated will depend on whether or not you have a will that specifies what you want to happen with that money.
If you have an up-to-date will that outlines how you want your assets, including your KiwiSaver funds, to be distributed, this makes life a lot easier for the loved ones you leave behind.
Make sure that you pass on the details of your KiwiSaver provider to your next of kin so that should you pass away, they will know who to contact about getting the funds paid out to the right person or people.
What if you don’t have a will?
If you pass away without making a will, it gets a bit more complicated. Rather than you being the one who decides who gets your assets, it will all be divided up according to the law. This means that if you wanted your KiwiSaver funds to go to a particular person, that might not happen if you don’t have a will.
Dying without a will is also a costly and lengthy process for your loved ones. They would need to make an application to the court to get someone appointed to deal with your assets on your behalf. If your family is somewhat estranged, this could be challenging.
Your KiwiSaver balance and your estate
If your KiwiSaver balance is less than $15,000 NZD when you pass away, your next of kin can apply directly to your KiwiSaver provider to release the funds. However, because the average KiwiSaver balance in New Zealand is around $20,000, it’s usually a lengthier process, especially if you don’t have a will in place.
Want to find out more?
Get in touch with us to chat through your current KiwiSaver situation to ensure you’re maximising your retirement savings. Our advisers can also supply you with a handy will kit template to get your will sorted if you haven’t already. Note: you will need to do your own due diligence with a lawyer for your will to ensure its validity.