Drawing Up a Will
The first question people ask when discussing wills is what happens if you die without drawing up a will previously?
In South Africa, if you don’t draw up a will, the Government distributes your Estate according to the laws of intestate succession. And this way is a way most people wouldn’t choose if they had drawn up a will.
Regarding the Act, without your drawing up a will your closest relatives will inherit from you in strict, pre-determined order and proportions. And if you die without a will, the Government appoints an Executor to wind up your Estate.
Drawing Up a Will – Direct the Bequests
Without drawing up a will there are rules about to whom and how your estate is distributed. And without a will, the money won’t go where you want it to go. This might cause conflict in the family, so it is better to have your will drawn up by an attorney. It is
important to have a person draw up the will who has knowledge and expertise with wills. This can be a law firm or a bank. You will sign and date the will in the presence of two witnesses for it to be valid.
Drawing Up a Will – Your Executor Administers the Estate
When drawing up a will, you can name your executors – the people who will take care of the financial process when you die. To appoint an executor in an estate, the funeral home or the family notifies the Master of the High Court of the death by sending certain documents for examination. He then appoints the executor by issuing a letter of executorship. The executor then starts to administer the estate –
● identifying the lists of assets of the deceased
● receiving payments due to the estate
● filing and paying income and state taxes
● paying funeral bills
● distributing assets as instructed
When drawing up a will it is made clear as to whom your property, car and investments will be distributed to. It is recommended to make use of a registered professional attorney who is well versed in the disciplines of the legal requirements of a will. These attorneys understand the importance of reviewing a will from time to time, especially because significant changes occur in life such as divorce, birth of children, marriage and retirement.
Drawing Up a Will – YOU can draw Up a Will – If it is Simple
Some people choose to live straightforward, simple and uncomplicated lives, and for them it is fairly easy to draw up their own will. They can even use the free Will template to make a valid will. There is plenty of information on the Internet as to how to make a valid will. If your circumstances are complex, it is best to contact an attorney.
Drawing Up a Will – Find a Safe Place for your Will
There is no specific place to keep a will, so long as its a safe place. Lawyers, trust companies, accountants and registered financial advisors all keep wills safely and confidentially. It is a good idea to make a copy of your will and to mark on it where the original is kept.
Have a will drawn up – this way you can avoid your assets falling into the hands of a family member you’ve always detested. Having a will is a sure way to keep the peace among your beneficiaries and you can rest in peace that you did things in an orderly fashion to avoid unnecessary conflict.