Why make a will this National Wills Week?

National Wills Week is from 11th to 15th September 2017 and is a time when participating attorneys in South Africa will draft new, basic wills free of charge. To make the most of this time of year, simply make an appointment with a participating attorney before or during National Wills Week.

However, if your circumstances are not simple enough to take advantage of a free basic will, it’s still worth making the effort at this time of year to draw up a will that suits your circumstances. You never know what the future holds, so it’s best to face this reality sooner rather than later.

In a recent article published on Wills Worldwide by Cindy Leicester, the author highlights the importance of having a will to ensure that your assets are disposed of after your death in accordance with your wishes. This is called ‘freedom of testation’. If you pass without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act, which are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children.

However, you should be aware that your assets may not be left to the person of your choice, there can be unnecessary costs involved, and it can take a long time for an executor to be appointed. If there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets, this can result in additional unhappiness or even conflict among your family members, at an already difficult time.

Drafting a will on your own or by using a web-sourced template can sometimes be sufficient, but these will not be applicable if you are residing outside of your country or origin, if you have young children, if you have assets in different countries, if you are part of a blended family, or if you are likely to inherit money yourself. These are just a few of the factors that would not be covered by a DIY basic will.

Attorneys are qualified law professionals who can establish your needs and offer professional advice on any problems that may arise, before forming your estate plan and drafting your will. They should have the necessary legal knowledge and experience to ensure that your will not only complies with your wishes, but is also valid and meets the requirements of the law.

If you are unsure whether an attorney is in good standing, it’s worth contacting the relevant law society or asking for advice. Once you have chosen an attorney with which you feel secure, you can arrange a one-to-one meeting in which you will be required to bring your passport or identity document to prevent fraud.

If you wish to arrange a meeting to discuss tax and insurance before you sign your will, do not hesitate to get in touch. A bit of foresight, preparation and research is key to ensuring that all your affairs will be dealt with in the best way possible for your loved ones after you’re gone.

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