Not many people seem to know what happens to their KiwiSaver in the event of divorce, death or a disaster, according to a Westpac NZ survey.

In a survey of more than 1000 people, just one in four knew that their KiwiSaver funds can be split between parties when you get divorced.

Some 35 per cent of people believed KiwiSaver investments stayed with them even if they split, and a further 40 per cent didn't know.

For many people it's likely KiwiSaver is one of their largest financial assets so it is important they know how it is treated by the law, says Westpac NZ general manager of consumer banking and wealth, Simon Power.


People don't tend to think of it as relationship property, and in the case of a divorce or a de facto separation, the savings can get split up like other assets, he said.

Meanwhile, 35 per cent of people surveyed didn't know what happened to their KiwiSaver if they died - and learnt that your KiwiSaver balance goes to to their estate.

But 65 per cent knew that they could apply to withdraw KiwiSaver funds if they fell on significant financial hardship.

"This survey is a reminder that they should also think about what happens to their funds in the event of unexpected and undesired circumstances," Mr Power said.