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Where there is a will, there is a way

by | Oct 15, 2021 | Personal Finance

75% of South African’s die without a valid will in pace. Your will is probably the most important document your will ever sign. It “speaks” for you – when you are no longer here.

Many families, have been torn apart by a death, as they fight over a family home and estate. Sadly, this can go on for decades.

Here are some FAQ’s, on wills – answered by leaders in the industry, Capital Legacy.

Why do many people still die without a valid will?

  • Superstition : People feel that if they think about writing a will, they would actually cause their death or misfortune.
  • Trust: Others really feel that their children are responsible enough to share their estate  amongst  themselves, and in accordance to their wishes. Therefore, they don’t think they need a will. But, we have all seen how inheritance money can turn people into monsters
  • Too young: Some people feel they are too young, and only those on their death beds should be drawing up a will.
  • Property isn’t valuable enough: Others think their property just isn’t worth enough for them to have a will drawn up.

 

What are the  most common consequences of not having a will

  • You lose the opportunity to decide who inherits what –  and your estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people who you may not have wanted to benefit from your estate can do so
  • Your partner may be left with nothing, if you are not married, or your will is not updated from a previous marriage.
  • Your children’s inheritance could pass to the government Guardian’s Fund, which falls under the administration of the Master of the High Court.
  • Family feuds often occur when final wishes are not clearly documented in a will.
  • Winding up your estate can take years. If you have not appointed a professional executor, the government is essentially in control of the process.

 

Can I use one of those “will kits” I have seen on the internet – and just  do my own will?

It is always wise to consult a professional to draft your will.  Your will must be clear, concise, represent your true intentions and meet certain legal requirements for it to be valid. Wills drafted by those with little or no experience can lead to problems.

 

Is it necessary to regularly update my will?

Yes, especially if  an important event like the birth of a child, death of a  beneficiary  or the acquisition of a new property has taken place.

 

What if  I am Muslim – does my Shariah mode of inheritance  not ‘automatically” kick into place?

In Islam, it is obligatory  for a Muslim to have a will that will ensure that their  estate is administered in terms of Shariah Law. This is especially important, when the Islamic laws of inheritance – is  NOT  the law of the land, as is the case in South Africa.

If it is your wish to follow Shariah law, then you must have your will drafted  accordingly, so that when you die, your estate will be seen to, in those terms. If you don’t have this in place, your estate will automatically be administered in accordance with South African Law of Intestate Succession.

 

What are the costs of dying, that most are people most unaware of?

  • Immediate expenses – When you pass away, your bank accounts could be frozen – and your family might have limited access to immediate money for funeral costs and ongoing  expenses like food, electricity etc.
  • Executor fees, Testamentary Trust fees, conveyancing attorneys fees, Master’s fees, correspondence fees, clearing fees: The fees attached to winding up an estate, can run into the hundreds of thousands of rands –and catch most people by surprise.
  • Winding up –Estates can take years to wind up and families may experience financial hardship until everything is finalized.
  • Taxes –Capital Gains Tax and other legal fees and taxes are triggered in certain instances

 

It can definitely only be to your benefit to see to it that your finances are in order after your death. But, you should be doing the same while you are alive.

If your monthly income is not enough to see to your debt repayments and necessities – rather than have your credit record negatively affected, rather speak to one our consultants today, and get guided on debt relief options available to you.

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