Why is it important to have a will?

2017-09-07 06:01

National Wills Week is held fom 11-15 September during which the Law Society of South Africa aims to educate and inform the public as to why one must have a will.

By making a will you ensure that your assets are disposed of in accordance with your wishes after your death. This privilege is called “freedom of testation”.

Why should an attorney draft your will?

Attorneys are professionals qualified in law. An attorney can advise you on any problem which may arise with regard to your will. An attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will is valid and complies with your wishes. Often a will is not valid because the person who drafts it does not have the necessary legal knowledge to ensure that the requirements of the law are met.

Several attorneys will participate in National Wills Week to assist the public in drafting a will free of charge.

  • In Uitenhage, Arno Strydom Inc. will be one of the attorneys. He can be contacted at 041 922 6474 to make an appointment.

This is how the process works:

1. Make a decision

Make an appointment with an attorney to draft your will during National Wills Week from 11 to 15 September 2017. Only new basic wills will be drafted. No changes will be made to existing wills.

2. Things to take to your appointment with the attorney

. Your ID document (and for your spouse if you have a joint will).

. A list of what you own (including specific personal items that you wish to bequeath to specific people) and who should get what.

3. Things about an executor

. The executor must administer your estate according to your will.

. The executor can be your attorney, your spouse or a family member or friend.

. If you decide on a spouse, family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor as the attorney will deal with any legal issues.

4. Things to think about before you make your will

. Who must get what?

. Who should be the legal guardians of your minor children (those under 18)?

. Who should be the executor of your will?

. Should you consider a joint will with your spouse?

5. Reasons why you should use an attorney to draft your will

. A practising attorney is a qualified professional registered with a law society.

. An attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will

is valid and complies with all the legal requirements.

. An attorney helps to ensure that your estate is administered promptly, efficiently.

. An attorney can advise you on any problem which may arise with your will.

. An attorney can assist and support your executor.

6. Reasons why you should have a will

. It is your right to decide who should inherit your assets.

. You must ensure your family is provided for in terms of your last wishes.

. Your assets will be left to the beneficiaries of your choice.

. The executor who is appointed is someone you know, trust and may have chosen yourself.

. You will avoid extra or unnecessary costs.

. You will avoid unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.

(-Issued: Law Society of South Africa)

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