By Nomali Cele
This is your chance to draft your will, free of charge! National Wills Weeks sees a number of attorneys, law firms and Legal Aid opening their doors to help the public draw up a will. During National Wills Week, all these service providers will help you draw up a new basic will. However, there will be no opportunity to update existing wills.
The risk of dying without a will is that the laws of the country will then come into effect to settle your estate. In South Africa, this is done through the Intetate succession Act 81 of 1987. The Act provides the following:
(1) If after the commencement of this Act a person (hereinafter referred to as the ‘deceased’) dies intestate, either wholly or in part, and-
(a) is survived by a spouse, but not by a descendant, such spouse shall inherit the intestate estate;
(b) is survived by a descendant, but not by a spouse, such descendant shall inherit the intestate estate;
(c) is survived by a spouse as well as a descendant-
(i) such spouse shall inherit a child’s share of the intestate estate or so much of the intestate estate as does not exceed in value the amount fixed from time to time by the Minister of Justice by notice in the Gazette, whichever is the greater
Read more of the Intestate Act here.
What are the benefits of having a will?
What’s the big deal, why is National Wills Week necessary? A will is a legally binding document outlining your wishes in the event of your death. The will covers everything from bequeaths (which are explicitly set out lists of who inherits what when you die) to funeral plans.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only the wealthy who need to have a will. Everyone needs a will, but they carry even more important for parents. If you have children, your will is where you plan for children in the event that you die while they’re still minors. Who will take care of your children, where they will live and how your life cover or pension will be used to care for them all goes into your will.
Another benefit of leaving behind an up-to-date will is that it eliminates guesswork and can contribute to minimising family disputes over the possessions of someone who’s just died.
The Law Society of South Africa website has a list of attorneys and law firms participating in the 2019 National Wills Week across South Africa.