With the country in lockdown, why not take the time and consider getting your Will in place?
If you are older than 16-years and mentally able to realise the nature and consequences of your actions, you are able to make a Will. The right to make a Will is determined by age and not other factors such as marital status, qualifications or financial status.
The South African law does not prescribe the contents of a valid Will. Therefore, the testator/testatrix has the freedom to decide on the content of their Will, subject to certain restrictions. The Wills Act, no 7 of 1953 do however prescribe the formalities that a will should comply with in order to be valid:
- It must be in writing, be it typed, printed or handwritten.
- It should be signed at the end thereof by the testator/testatrix in the presence of two witnesses, older than 14 years.
- Every page should be signed or initialed by the testator/testatrix should the Will consist of more than one page.
Some advantages to consider should you want to draft your own Will?
- You can nominate your own executor(s) to administrate your estate.
- The executor’s fee can be negotiated and established. Negotiating and determining the executor’s fee in your Will can save your estate money.
- Peace of mind that your estate Will be distributed according to your wishes.
- A guardian can be nominated and trust set up should there be any minor heirs.
- An easier administration process of your estate and the limiting of any potential disputes and conflicts between heirs.
Should you already have a Will in place it is just as important to update your will according to any changes in your circumstances. For example, should you be in the process of a divorce. Section 2(B) of the Wills Act excludes a former spouse from the right to inherit for a period of three months after the dissolution of a marriage due to divorce. Should you not amend your Will within the three-month period, your ex-spouse will inherit should he/she be a nominated heir in your will and you die without updating your will.
As we are living in uncertain times, making sure that you have a valid Will in place is one thing that you have control over. Having your Will drafted by a professional will provide you with the peace of mind that your wishes will be honored and the administration of your estate does not place an extra burden on your loved ones. Take control of the uncertainty and draft a Will.
By Lynn-Marie Groenewald
30 March 2020