A will is a very important tool when it comes to the distribution of the hard-earned assets you have built up over your lifetime. Having a will gives you the power to determine exactly what should happen to your estate after you pass on.
If there is no will, the distribution of your estate will be done in terms of the Countries’ Intestate Succession Laws – which may not be according to what you desire.
The benefits of a will – Clarity
Since distribution of an estate can be a very emotional matter, conflict is likely to arise. Having a will often eases contention as it provides clear direction to your family when carrying out your wishes.
A will is essentially created to remove “what if’s” once you have passed away.
7 things to consider when drafting a will
- Be very clear on who your assets should be distributed to as well as how they should be distributed
- Appoint an executor to carry out your wishes and wrap up the estate;
- Create trusts (if need be)
- Consider what would happen to your children should you and your spouse (if married) pass away at the same time
- Consider appointing guardians for any children you may have
- If you plan to place responsibility on other parties in your will (such as guardianship) be sure to discuss it with them prior
- The witnesses to the will should not be anyone that will be inheriting in terms of the will, or anyone that has been appointed as executor or guardian in terms of the will
Legal requirements for your will to be valid
- Your will must be signed at the end by the testator, and two witnesses. If the will is more than one page, each page must be signed by the testator. The witnesses do not have to sign every page.
- The testator and the witnesses must all be present at the same time when signing the will
- The will should be dated on the last page (this is not a formal requirement however it is strongly reccomended)
It is important that a will be considered as part of estate planning and that the two are aligned.