The preparation, drafting and signing of a Will is an act of responsibility, thoughtfulness and kindness. As uncomfortable as the thought may be, the process of Will drafting and Estate planning is less about you and more about looking after those you care for.
Passing away without a Will, or with an invalid Will, results in your Estate being distributed in terms of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 and this is undesirable as your Estate will be distributed in accordance with the Act, irrespective of your personal wishes. Under these circumstances, you have no control over who will inherit, or the quantum paid to your heirs, or indeed any special wishes you may have had in mind regarding children or grandchildren for example.
If you have a valid Will and have not kept it updated and your personal circumstances have changed materially, your wishes may not reflect your current reality. Most people experience a change in their marital status in their lifetime and many lived in a ‘blended’ family environment, thus it is only fair, equitable and responsible that you update your Will to reflect your current circumstances.
A further consideration may be that of a Living Will. Following the South African Medical Association, a ‘Living Will’ is a declaration or an advance directive which represents a person’s wish to refuse any medical treatment to be kept alive by artificial means when the patient may no longer be able to competently express a view.
So, in summary, the following should be considered:
- Your Will must comply with the Wills Act
- A ‘DIY’ Will is potentially dangerous and best avoided
- Your wishes and intentions should be recorded clearly as ambiguity may have unintended consequences
- You should nominate and Executor (such as Appleton) and ensure that the requirement for a bond of security is met, or not required
- Your Will should cater for a Testamentary Trust is minors are to inherit
- Ensure that your Will is safely stored and secured, such as the facility provide by Appleton
- Ensure that your Estate has sufficient liquidity to cover administration costs which are currently statutorily determined at 3,5% of Estate value.
For further personalised advice on Wills and Estate planning, please speak to your Warwick specialist on 0800 50 50 50 or firstname.lastname@example.org