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Writing a Will is on most people’s “I’ll get to that later” list – in fact, 70% of South African’s don’t have a Will.
Planning for and talking about death is intimidating and unsettling, it requires us to imagine the worst-case scenario. However, it’s about more than who inherits the silverware. A Will is not just for the rich and wealthy. Sure, if you’re young, broke, single and don’t have kids, you don’t need a Will (yet). But if you have a partner, are married, have kids, or have assets (money or property), then yes.
Here are the top 6 reasons to have a Will drafted:
- You decide how your estate will be distributed. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, a Will ensures that whatever personal belongings and assets you have, will go to the beneficiaries you designate.
- You decide who will take care of your minor children. Having a Will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your kids. In case of minor children, if there is no Will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian to raise your kids. The reality here is that your children might be placed in the care of someone they are not familiar with or someone you don’t trust.
- To avoid a lengthy probate process. All estates must go through the probate process, with or without a Will. Having a Will, however, speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you’d like your estate divided. Probate courts serve the purpose of “administering your estate” and should you die without a Will, your deceased estate will be distributed in terms of the Intestate Succession Act. And, since no executor was named, a judge appoints an administrator to serve in that capacity. As such, an administrator may make decisions that wouldn’t necessarily agree with your wishes or those of your heirs. This means that beneficiaries you may never have wished to inherit might benefit, while those that you genuinely care for and would want to benefit, might be left with no legal entitlement to your estate or assets.
- You appoint an executor who will wind up the affairs of your estate. This person will make sure that all your affairs are in order, including the paying of bills, cancelling of credit cards etc. You’ll want to make sure to appoint someone trustworthy and honest.
- Gain peace of mind by helping your family to avoid a massive administrative headache in the event of your passing.
Do you need a legal expert to draw up a Will? Off course you have the option of drawing up a Will yourself but be warned - South African law has strict rules and procedures when it comes to the authenticity and validity thereof. It will be advisable to have a person with the necessary legal knowledge, to draw up your Will. However, If you do decide to do it yourself, it might be a good idea to have a lawyer give it a once over.
Remember, tomorrow is not promised.
It just makes sense to craft your wishes into a legal document as soon as possible.
Source: womanshealthmag.com, lawforall.co.za, themoneynerds.com, fin24.com, legalwise.co.za, aarp.org, Expatica.com, thebalance.com, moneyunder30.com, legalwills.co.uk, havenlife.com, sars.gov.za, iol.co.za, ilawyer.co.za, legalzoom.com, estate.findlaw.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.