Do You Need a Will and Testament?
Winding up a deceased estate can be daunting, complicated and an emotional process, especially if a will has not been executed or if it has not been drafted or signed properly.
There are many instances that people may wish to draft or update a will, including overseas travel, marriage, divorce, birth, starting a business, or purchase of a property. The reality is that there is no time like the present!
In this section, we provide brief information that should assist you with your estate planning in order to fulfill your true wishes and benefit your beneficiaries accordingly.
A will is a very important document and provides you with peace of mind, in that you have chosen your heirs, and taken care of your dependents.
If a person passes away without a valid will, the estate will be wound up according to the laws of Intestate Succession in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987, which stipulates how assets are distributed and it may not necessarily be in accordance with your wishes.
Should you reside with your partner to whom you are not married, the law of intestate succession may not recognise your ‘common-law’ spouse as the beneficiary of your estate if you haven’t left a will naming him/her as beneficiary.
A will is essential for all, especially in the case where you have minor dependents. In this case, you should consider nominating someone with parental rights in order to ensure that your children are cared for. You may want to consider making provision for the protection of minor heirs by setting up a testamentary trust.
In terms of your will, you need to appoint an executor to administer your estate according to the provisions of your will, who shall be responsible to act in the best interest of your heirs. Failing which, the Master or your heirs may nominate an executor to administer your estate.
- You should always seek expert and professional advice when you want to draft or review you will.
- Attempting to draft a will yourself, could result in the will being invalid, or could cause consequences after your death that you may not have intended.
- Keep your will up to date by revising it regularly.
- Identify heirs or legatees clearly by full names, relationship and identity number (or birth date) to avoid possible ambiguity.
- Should you bequeath a legacy (a specific asset to specific heir), describe it clearly.
- Ensure that you understand each and every provision in the document and that the will accurately reflects your wishes.
- It is advisable to include an alternate heir in your Will. If you do not nominate alternate heirs, your intestate heirs will inherit your estate.
- Notify interested parties, family and friends that you have prepare a will and advise them who you have nominated as your executor and direct them to notify your executor immediately in the event of your death.
- The whereabouts of your Will (EasyTrusts.co.za can hold the original document for you for a nominal annual fee).
When signing your will, it is imperative that it is done in compliance with the provisions of the Wills Act.
The place and date of signature must be written in at the end of the will.
Each page of the will should be signed in black ink by the Testator or Testatrix, and two independent witnesses, who should also sign next to any alteration.
Witnesses should be parties who have no interest in the will, and their signatures merely acknowledge that they saw the Testator or Testatrix sign. It is advisable not to ask family members or anyone else who could be an heir or the spouse of an heir to sign as a witness, as they may be disqualified from inheriting in terms of the Wills Act.
Our Costs for Preparing A Will
|1. Simple individual will||R200|
|2. Simple joint and mutual will||R250|
|3. Individual Will incorporating a testamentary trust||R400|
|4. Joint & mutual Will incorporating a testamentary trust||R450|
|5. Individual Will with special bequests||R400|
|6. Joint & mutual Will with special bequests||R450|
|7. Simple Sharia will||R250|