Many people underestimate the importance of having a Will. It is a simple process that could save your family time and unnecessary admin if something should happen to you. Simply put, a Will is your voice when you no longer have one.
“Everyone should have a Will, even if you are young. And it’s not just for married or wealthy people,” says Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education at First National Bank.
A Will is a legal document that explains what you want to do with your money and possessions when you die.
“If you have a few thousand rand, or a hundred thousand and multiple properties, this document will ensure that your possessions are distributed according to your wishes,” says Sibiya.
Without a Will, the courts will step in and distribute your assets instead of you having your final say. This could drag for years, leaving your family without an income for the funeral or day-to-day expenses.
“A Will is not only for your assets, but your debts as well,” says Sibiya, “So choose a reputable and experienced Executor to take care of your wishes ??? collect on your behalf, settle your debt and see to your wishes. ”
To start, you need to draft a document that states who you bequeath your assets to and how you would like them distributed. This document can be as broad or as detailed as you like. Then find an executor; someone who will handle your estate thoroughly and follow your requests once you’re gone. This person should be trustworthy and honest and you must name him or her in your Will.
“You may also include instructions about your funeral, preferred method and place of burial and payment of funeral fees in the Will,” says Sibiya. “That way, there’ll be no dispute regarding your final wishes.”
Sibiya says there are a few important points to remember about Wills.
“You have to be 16 or older to write a valid Will and it must be written of your free choice; you can’t be forced to write it. Your Will must be in written (typed or printed) form to be legal. You can’t whisper it into someone’s ear or recite it at the dinner table,” says Sibiya.
If it’s not written down, it’s not valid,” she says.
Your signature must appear at the end of every page of the Will to show that it’s valid and you must sign it in the presence of at least two witnesses (both over the age of 14).
“It’s important to remember that your witnesses shouldn’t be heirs or have a direct interest in your estate. That way, your assets will be handled with respect and care after you pass on,” says Sibiya.
There is no legal requirement that a Will be drawn up by a lawyer but it is advisable because at the end of the day, a Will is a legal document,” says Sibiya.
If you don’t know where to start, some banks, such as FNB, give customers free access to Wills and can assist in giving advice, drafting and executing your Will.
“It’s not nice to think about, but wrapping things up in a Will is one way to ensure that in the event of your death, your family is free of financial admin and hassle and that the people you care about will be looked after according to your wishes, concludes Sibiya.