“Life is unpredictable; we desire something, plan something and get something else” -Masum Priyadarsani.
You can’t predict what will happen in life, but you can plan for what happens when you are gone. In these trying times, it is becoming increasingly vital for us to carefully consider the choices and plans we need to protect our loved ones after we are no longer around to do so ourselves.
It is undoubtedly an unsettling topic to talk about; however, it is one that is currently very necessary, as having a professionally drafted Will, protect your family and legacy.
Who can make a Will?
According to the Wills Act, 7 of 1953, any person, over the age of 16 who is of a sound mind and can appreciate the consequences of making a Will, can do so.
The Importance of having a Will:
Drafting a Will is all about taking control of your estate while ensuring your loved ones are well cared for in the event of your passing. If you don’t have a valid Will, your estate will not be in your control and will be divided in terms of intestate succession laws.
For example, in this instance, you won’t be able to specify who gets your house, cars or other assets. Instead, your entire estate will be divided amongst your heirs, as determined by law in terms of the rules of intestate succession. This means that those you would want to benefit may be left with no legal entitlement, while others you never wished to inherit may become beneficiaries.
Further, there are many instances where heirs and family members have significant disputes because they disagree on the deceased’s intentions regarding the division of his/ her estate.
The Benefits of a Valid Will
Reduces Likelihood of Disputes
Having a Will reduces the likelihood of family disputes and avoids the possibility of unintended beneficiaries. However, there is still a possibility that conflicts could arise and in that case, a valid Will can assist in directing a dispute resolution method.
A Will can include a clause that stipulates that in the event of any disputes, the matter must be referred to an attorney or mediator, whose decision will be final.
Choose Your Executor
When drafting a will, you can choose who your executor will be, this person will be responsible for everything regarding your estate, and should therefore be someone you trust.
Where there is no Will, the intestate heirs will be required to nominate an executor. This may cause unnecessary delays and disputes amongst heirs as they may not always agree on who should be nominated.
Another benefit of having a Will is that it is possible to include a clause in the Will whereby you exempt any executor appointed in terms of your Will from providing security to the Master of the High Court. Without a Will, the executor will have to provide security if it is requested.
An obvious concern when dealing with inheritance is the marital status of the beneficiaries and how such status will affect whether their spouse will be entitled to the assets inherited.
In cases where people do not have a Will, they have no control over whether the inheritance will form part of any joint estate of the heirs. However, in a Will, you can exclude any inheritance from forming part of any existing or future marriage in community of property or accrual systems.
For example, where an heir (married in community of property) inherits from your estate and subsequently gets divorced, their spouse will not be entitled to receive half of the inheritance because of the exclusion clause in the Will.
Dictate Rites and Guardians
Other important elements that can be included in a Will are instructions regarding how you wish your last rites to be performed, as well as appointing guardians for any minor children.
This is often overlooked but has the potential to cause huge problems should it not be provided for. There are countless examples of family members, including grandparents, who eventually have to seek the court’s assistance to determine and make a decision regarding guardianship, access and primary residence of minor children.
Death is an eventuality that we may not want to consider. However, by making the proper preparations and having a professionally drafted Will, your assets and the interests of your loved ones will be protected.
If you require help in drafting your Last Will and Testament, AMC Hunter INC can assist. Get in touch with us on 031 309 5483 or email@example.com