Use national wills week

2015-09-10 06:00

ATTORNEYS across the country will draft free basic wills during National Wills Week from September 14 to 18.

“If you want to ensure your affairs are in order, it is important that you have a valid will drafted by a professional. A valid will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, to appoint an executor of your choice for your estate and also a guardian for your minor children,” say Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) co-chairpersons Busani Mabunda and Richard Scott.

If you are recently married, divorced or widowed, have started cohabitating with your partner or have bought new property, you must have a will. Similarly, unmarried persons – particularly financial dependents – should ensure they have a will as several people could make a claim on their estates.

Attorneys participating in National Wills Week will display posters with their contact details so the public can make appointments with attorneys in their area. In addition, the contact details of all participating attorneys can be accessed at www.lssa.org.za.

The attorney will need the following for your will to be drafted:

) Your ID document

)A list of what you own and the approximate value, including specific personal items you wish to bequeath to specific people.

Before you go to the attorney, think about:

) Who must get what?

) Who should be the legal guardian of your minor children?

) Who should be the executor of your will? This could be your attorney or a close family member or friend. If you decide on a family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor as the attorney will deal with any legal issues.

A practising attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure your will is valid by complying with all the legal requirements in the Wills Act and that it complies with your wishes.

Attorneys can also advise you on any problem which may arise with your will and assist your executor. Often a will is not valid because the person who drafts it does not have the necessary legal knowledge to ensure all the legal requirements are met.

If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. These provisions are generally fair and ensure your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children, and where applicable, to siblings, parents, and if required, then to the extended family in terms of degrees of relationships.

These problems may arise if you die without leaving a will:

) Your assets may not be left to the person of your choice.

) It can take a longer time to have an executor appointed. The executor who is appointed may be somebody you may not have chosen.

) There could be extra and unnecessary costs.

) There could be unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.

The contact details of attorneys participating in national wills week are on www.LSSA.org.za

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