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John de Villiers
Editor of the LexisDigest
John de Villiers has been the editor of the LexisDigest (formerly the GhostDigest) since its inception in February 2003.
He joined the then Korbitec as a software tester in May 1999 before starting the GhostDigest.
The freedom of a testator to dispose of the whole or any part of his estate as he pleases is not absolute and there are several instances under which a will may be invalid in whole or in part from the moment of its execution or fail, in whole or in part when his estate is wound up.
Before discussing the requirements of a valid will bear in mind that only someone who is sixteen years old or more and mentally capable of appreciating the nature and effect of his act at the time of making the will, is competent to do so (Section 4 of the Wills Act, 7 of 1953).
The most basic definition of a will (“Last Will and Testament”) is that it is a formal, signed, written document, in which a testator voluntarily sets out his instructions in unambiguous terms as to how his assets are to devolve following his death.
The most important reason for having a will is to ensure that the wishes and instructions of a testator regarding his estate are properly carried out after his death. Many of us will not leave behind complex or complicated estates, or even estates of high monetary value.
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.