Why must you have a will?

2019-09-12 06:00

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”.

National Wills Week is an initiative of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and will take place from 16-20 September 2019 with the aim to encourage members of the public who would not normally make use of the services of an attorney, or who may hesitate to approach an attorney, to consult an attorney to have a basic will drafted.

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 for the law are met.

What happens to your estate if you die without a valid will?

If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. The provisions of this Act are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children.

But, the following 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 long time to have an executor appointed. The executor who is appointed may be somebody you may not have chosen yourself.

There can be extra and unnecessary costs

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

The Department of Justice, in conjunction with the LSSA, will be visiting rural areas to promote Wills Week.

The LSSA will engage with attorneys to encourage them to join the community sessions and service desks mainly taking place in the rural areas.

The LSSA thanks all the attorneys who participate in this initiative.

(Issued: Law Society of South Africa)

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