Does setting up your last Will and Testament make you think of your mortality? This is the reason why many South Africans delay writing their wills; it’s something many only think of when confronted with a life threatening illness or accident.

However, if you don’t prepare a will it could cause unnecessary stress and conflict for your family when you pass away - a time that is already filled with sadness and trauma. 

These are some of the problems that may arise if you die without a will:

  • Your assets might not be left to the person of your choice.
  • It can take a longer time to have an executor appointed. The executor who is appointed might not be somebody you would have chosen.
  • There could be extra and unnecessary costs.
  • If you have children, the surviving parent would continue as their guardian. However, if both parents die at the same time, the courts will appoint a legal guardian for your child.

Some basic information about wills:

It’s your right to decide who should inherit your assets. Should you pass away without a will, it means you die ‘intestate’. This means that the courts will write a will on your behalf, take over your assets and properties, and divide them between your spouse and children. Apart from the time-consuming hassle and inconvenience for your loved ones, dying without a will could also cost the estate thousands in unnecessary expenses. The delays in dealing with your estate could also mean your family won’t be able to access the funds which they might need for day-to-day living in your absence.

Some of the things to consider when thinking of getting your will written is; who must get what, who should be the legal guardians of your minor children, and who should be the executor of your will? More importantly, have your will drafted by an Attorney, who will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure your will complies with all the legal requirements in the Wills Act and that it complies with your wishes.

Give your family peace of mind and make an appointment to draft your will FREE with attorneys registered with the Law Society of South Africa during Wills Week 17-31 September.

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