A Will is a legal document in terms of which a person records and outlines how they wish their estate to be distributed upon their death.
As daunting as it is to think about our inevitable demise, a Will is an important tool in planning our estate and protecting the interests of our loved ones, especially minor children.
A few benefits of concluding a Will include:
• Legal certainty and peace of mind;
• Nomination of a trustworthy and reliable Executor;
• Avoids unnecessary delays and expenses in the administration process;
• Assists in preventing confusion and family feuds; and
• Protects the interests of minor children.
If you pass away without leaving a valid Will, your estate will be distributed to your nearest blood relations in predetermined shares, in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act. It is noteworthy to mention that in the absence of a valid Will directing otherwise, an inheritance due to a minor child will be paid over to the Guardian’s Fund, which is administered by the Master of the High Court.
In order for your Will to be legally valid, it must be in writing. In addition, the Wills Act specifically requires you to sign each page of your Will, in the presence of two competent witnesses, who must in turn also sign your Will. Once signed, it is imperative that your Will is placed in safe custody, as the original Will must be submitted to the Master of the High Court upon your passing.
It is reassuring to know that you can amend your Will at any time before your death, provided that you possess the necessary mental capacity to do so. It is advisable to review your Will on an annual basis, and to update it as and when your circumstances change, which may include inter alia: a change in marital status, birth of children, acquisition of larger assets such as immovable property, and the death of nominated beneficiaries.
For more information or for free assistance with the drafting, updating and safekeeping of your Will, please contact us: email@example.com.