Below is a handy advice sheet from Steindle Williams Legal http://www.swlegal.co.nz on what people need to provide their lawyer when writing their wills:

  1. Provide your full names and any previous names (e.g. maiden name)?
  2. What are your current occupations?
  3. Where were you born?
  4. Advise your address and brief description of your assets.
  5. Who do you want to be the executor(s) of your Will? This is the person or persons who ensure the wishes of your Will are carried out. You will need full names and relationship to you. If you have a spouse you usually appoint each other for this role and then another person or persons if you died together. A partner of your family law firm can act in this role if you wish too.
  6. Do you have children, if so, list their ages and full names?  Do you wish to appoint a guardian or guardians of any children below 18 years of age if they were ever without legal guardian?
  7. Are there any specific gifts you wish to make to anyone? (e.g. jewellery, art, furniture, money?)
  8. Do you have any burial or cremation wishes?
  9. Your estate usually passes to your partner/spouse then to any children, then to any grandchildren. Make sure you advise if this is not what you intend or if there are any “blended” family issues.
  10. At what age should your beneficiaries/children receive – 25 years?
  11. Do you have a family trust? If so,  provide a copy of the Trust Deed and any variations (including any Deed recording a change in Trustees)

Please also advise:

  1. Do you have an earlier Will you would like to have collected/sent to your lawyer and put on file?
  2. Are you/ your partner/spouse and any ex-partner formally divorced and/or a Separation Agreement entered into? It is important to be aware that until you formalise your division of property, even if he/she is not included in your Will, s/he may be able to make an estate claim upon your death under the Property (Relationships) Act.