Drawing Up Your Own Will
Drawing up your own will is not just for those who are on their deathbeds; you can draw up your will even today. You don’t need to wait until you are incapacitated by some illness, neither should you allow for the possibility of death catching you unawares. Far from wishing death upon yourself, drawing up your own will early will help your loved ones more easily deal with a difficult time.
Why a Will is a Good Idea
Drawing up your own will allows you to be in control of what will happen to your wealth after you die. Should you die intestate, no one will know how you would have liked to dispose of your hard-earned wealth. While your wealth will still be distributed even if you don’t leave behind a valid will, it might not go to the people you wanted or in the proportions you would have desired. Dependents can be left struggling to make ends meet while their portion of the deceased’s estate is held for them in trust or family members you don’t want to divide your estate with may be bequeathed a substantial amount.
Drawing Up Your Own Will
As long as you are 16 years old or above, you can make a Will to direct those who survive you on how to distribute your assets. You don’t need to have a lawyer present to draw up a Will, neither do you have to go to a bank to have them make one for you. You only need to ensure that the document you come up with conforms to the Wills Act of South Africa. If your case is not complicated, you can get the template for your will from your nearest stationer. For a Will to be considered valid, it must contain the following:
- Should be signed at the end by the testator. If the document is more than one page long, all pages should be signed.
- Should be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses who are above 14 years old and are not mentioned as beneficiaries in the Will.
- The witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of the testator and of each other.
Contents of the Will
Before you get to the financial nitty-gritty, you can specify in your Will how you want your remains to be disposed of. The two main choices here are burial and cremation. When it comes to the estate, you need to write the name of the Executor of your Will. This is the person who will ensure your wishes concerning the distribution of your assets are observed. A relative or friend can be the Executor of your Will but you must be careful to insert the phrase “with powers of assumption” in the place where you name them. This means they can get a lawyer to assist them. If you engage a lawyer as your Executor, you will have to pay them an agreed amount.
You also need to name all the beneficiaries of your estate including children, spouse(s), friends or organisations of your choice. For beneficiaries who are minors you also need to name a guardian or a trustee
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