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The Importance of Having a Will

Dying without a will

If you pass without leaving a will (“intestate”), the law will govern how your estate is devolved or distributed. In South Africa, the Intestate Succession Act, 81 of 1987 is the governing legislation for intestate deceased estates. Your estate may devolve upon beneficiaries you may never have intended to inherit, whilst those who you cared about or who cared about you, may be left behind.

As an individual you want to take care of your loved ones during your lifetime and after your death. When you write a will, you ensure that your assets are divided among your chosen beneficiaries.

Advantages of a will

Limiting family disputes

A clear, well-drafted will can prevent family disputes over the assets of the estate. There are rare occasions under which a court can declare a will invalid or entertain a dispute on the contents of a will.

Preferences

South African law recognizes the concept of “freedom of testation”. This concept implies that a testator (the person who has made the will) is free to create a will and leave or divide his or her estate in whichever way he or she pleases, as long as the testamentary provisions are not contrary to public policy. You can rely on this principle should wish to make a shariah compliant will, or leave your entire estate to charity.

Adding a personal touch

In the event that you pass whilst your child is still a minor, special provision can be made for the maintenance and upbringing of your child(ren). You may want to create a testamentary trust, and nominate your child(ren) or loved ones as beneficiaries to the trust.

The importance of professional Assistance when having your will drawn

It is advisable to have an attorney or notary public with the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to draft your will. The Wills Act, 7 of 1953 prescribes certain formalities regarding the signing of a will, witnesses and amendments, without which, the will is invalid.

Please feel free to contact us should you require assistance in drafting your will or planning your estate.

#wills #deceasedestates

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