Don’t hesitate, draft your will today!
Many people believe having a last will and testament is unnecessary and that when they pass away there won’t be any issues and that they are too busy living to stress about death. But death does not discriminate, it doesn’t care about your busy schedule, and could happen when you least expect it, leaving your loved ones left behind to deal with your personal affairs.
Before you decide not to have a will, please keep the following misconceptions and myths in mind:
- I don’t have any immovable property or a vehicle
Our Law requires that all deaths and estates are to be reported to the Master of the High Court, regardless of the type of assets you have. This includes bank accounts, furniture, jewellery as well as vehicles and houses etc.
- Everything will go to my spouse or partner when I die
Dying without a will means that your estate will be wound up according to the laws of Intestate succession. This means your estate will be distributed between your spouse and children. However, this could include other family members as well. A clear, written will can ensure that family disputes in respect of your estate are avoided and your assets are distributed to family or people of your choice.
- It won’t be my problem anymore
This is true, but it will be your family’s problem. Having a will in place can alleviate stress and strife as it provides a form of certainty and clarity as to what should happen to your belongings.
- I told my parents what needs to happen with my belongings
Telling a family member what should happen to your belongings is not a legal and binding document. There is also no guarantee that your family will remember or carry out your wishes.
- It costs money
A basic will won’t break the bank. Some attorneys or advisors draft wills for free, however more complex wills do require more expertise.
In closure, please keep the following guidelines in mind:
- A will is a very important legal document. It outlines the way a person’s assets should be distributed according to the wishes of the deceased. It further indicates who should be the executor to administer your estate when you pass on. This is usually a huge responsibility as the executor steps into the shoes of the deceased and choosing the right person is a challenge on its own.
- Change is a given. Always review your will and ensure it is up to date as and when things do change in your life (i.e. marriage, divorce, purchasing assets of value).
- Planning is key. Having a will provides you the opportunity to carefully plan which assets you should leave to your chosen beneficiaries. You can also decide what will happen if the nominated beneficiary cannot or is incapable of dealing with the inheritance and if you are married you can choose to put conditions in place to exclude your spouse as a beneficiary from any matrimonial claim.
As part of National Wills Week you can fill out the form via the link: https://bit.ly/hpwillsweek and Hammond Pole will draw up a basic will for you free of charge between now and 17 September. For more information about National Wills Week, visit: https://www.lssa.org.za/our-initiatives/advocacy/national-wills-week/
For more information: MichelleO@hammondpole.co.za