Ricochet News

Do you need a Will?

By Bardine Hall (BA LLB) - Sep 19, 2018
Do you need a Will?

“A man who dies without a will has lawyers for his heirs” (Anon)

It’s natural not to want to make plans for our own mortality, but we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to do exactly that, and to do it without delay. Why?

  1. Sooner or later we all die. No one knows exactly when.
  2. If you don’t make a will you forfeit your right (and duty) to ensure that your loved ones are properly catered for after your death.
  3. A professionally-drawn will also greatly reduce the risk of your grieving family having to deal with uncertainty as to your wishes, bitter infighting and expensive litigation.

What happens if you don’t leave a valid will?

If you leave no valid will when you die, our “law of intestacy” applies, with the following consequences –

  • Your assets are distributed according to law, not according to your wishes. That could leave your family very vulnerable.
  • Your deceased estate is administered by an executor in whose appointment you have had no say. Not ideal – rather protect your loved ones by choosing in your will an executor you can trust to act with integrity and speed.
  • Equally, you have no say in who is to be appointed guardian of your minor children, nor trustee of a trust to protect their inheritances (particularly important if you are the last-surviving parent).
  • Your childrens’ inheritances will sit in the statutory Guardians Fund until they turn 18 – very much last prize considering past allegations of fraud, corruption and chaotic administration in the Fund.

Beware: You could leave your spouse struggling to survive

Without a will, if your spouse survives you together with children (or other descendants), he or she will, regardless of age or circumstances, inherit only the greater of R250,000 or a “child’s share”. In a nutshell, your spouse will have to split your estate with your descendants and you could be sentencing him or her to a life of financial hardship, all for want of a simple will.

A will isn’t just an essential step in securing your family’s future; it also gives you the freedom to support your favourite good cause with a bequest. Many of our most worthy charities rely heavily on bequests, and you really will be leaving the world a better place for your generosity.

EXTRACT FROM LawDotNews September 2018

Contact us at Goldberg & de Villiers Inc if you require advice on your will. Contact the Estates Department of Goldberg & de Villiers Inc for advice regarding a Will on Tel: 041 501 9800. Visit: www.goldbergdevilliers.co.za