You need a Will

04 Sep 2019 7:46 am by John de Villiers

You need a Will - National Wills Week (16 to 20 September)

Far too many South Africans die every year without leaving a valid will, causing unhappiness, confusion and disputes among family members; and delays and extra costs for the deceased’s estate. LexisNexis therefore supports the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA)’s National Wills Week initiative, which will take place from 16 to 20 September 2019.

During National Wills Week, participating attorney firms from across the country will be providing their services for free in drafting a new basic will. Those of us who don’t have a will should make use of this opportunity because attorneys, as the premier providers of wills and estate services, understand the legal aspects, problems and implications of wills and estates. They are more than qualified to ensure that your will has been properly executed, is valid and binding; and is one which correctly reflects your wishes and instructions after you have died.

All it takes is six steps: (see https://www.lssa.org.za/upload/files/Wills%20Week%202018/engWills%20WeekInfographic-Eng2018.pdf for the original infographic)

6 reasons you should have a will

  1. It is your right to decide who should inherit your assets.
  2. You must ensure your family is provided for in terms of your last wishes.
  3. Your assets will be left to the beneficiaries of your choice.
  4. The executor who is appointed is someone you know, trust and may have chosen yourself.
  5. You will avoid extra or unnecessary costs.
  6. You will avoid unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.

5 reasons why you should use an attorney to draft your will

  1. A practising attorney is a qualified professional registered with a law society.
  2. An attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will is valid and complies with all the legal requirements.
  3. An attorney helps to ensure that your estate is administered promptly and efficiently.
  4. An attorney can advise you on any problem which may arise with your will.
  5. An attorney can assist and support your executor.

4 things to think about before you make your will

  1. Who must get what?
  2. Who should be the legal guardians of your minor children (those under 18)?
  3. Who should be the executor of your will?
  4. Should you consider a joint will with your spouse?

3 things about an executor

  1. The executor must administer your estate according to your will.
  2. The executor can be your attorney, your spouse or a family member or friend.
  3. If you decide on a spouse, family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor as the attorney will deal with any legal issues.

2 things to take to your appointment with the attorney

  1. Your ID document (and that of your spouse if you have a joint will).
  2. A list of what you own (including specific personal items that you wish to bequeath to specific people) and who should get what.

1 decision made

For more information and where to find a participating attorney go to https://www.lssa.org.za/our-initiatives/advocacy/national-wills-week