During this global pandemic, many families have no clue or the direction of where to start when it comes to a deceased’s estate. With an untimely death, if there is no will there are no clear instructions about what needs to happen and no mention of who rightfully inherits the belongings of a deceased family member.
We don’t think about how important a will is, and what would happen if we were to pass suddenly. We don’t have important conversations around who should own our car when we die, where our family should claim for insurance, and we don’t express our final wishes.
As a parent, there are many reasons you should have a will, perhaps one of the most important documents you will sign in your lifetime. A will is your instructions to an executor about managing all the assets you have acquired over your lifetime. It includes provisions for the distribution of your wealth, among other items.
Important facts about wills in South Africa:
In South Africa, someone who is over 16 years of age can have a will. Here is some vital information that you must include in the document.
- Preferred heirs and heiresses of yours.
- Your chosen trustee or custodian of your will If you have one.
- How you want to split your valuable belongings, including charitable donations.
- Your marital status.
- Instruction on how your body is dealt with after you die.
- If you die without a will when your children are still minors, before they become majors, their inheritances will have to be deposited into the Guardian’s Fund, supervised by the Master of the High Court.
- In your will, you may appoint guardians of your choice for your minor children.
- Avoid possible quarrels between heirs by having a will that clearly states your wishes.
- To protect your loved ones in any case, plan a variety of ‘what if’ scenarios and contingency plans with an attorney.
How and where to draft a will?
- Almost every bank in the country allows you to walk in and draft and sign your will, some even have facilities online.
- You can also do it with your lawyer and have it signed a kept in a safe place.
Finally make sure that every year, you revisit your will to ensure that it reflects the most recent condition of your properties. Your will must be handwritten, typed or printed, it can’t be an oral wills. Remember, to give all the information about your finances to your lawyer or a trusted friend.