It has become the norm for families to be at loggerheads about estate after the death of a key family member, with the question being: Who should benefit from the deceased’s assets?
That is why Jenny Gordon, senior legal adviser at Alexander Forbes, came up with five tips regarding the vital importance of the drawing up of a will.
“Thinking about your death is unpleasant,” said Gordon. “Should you die without a will, the law will decide who gets your assets, without any regard to your wishes or your family’s needs.”
Draw up a will
You do not need to hire a lawyer. Most banks, trust companies or financial advisers will draw up a will at a small fee, or none at all, if appointed.
Nominate an executor
You can nominate a person or company you trust as executor. Failing this, you could nominate a spouse and a company as co-executors.
Choose your heirs
If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed in terms of the Intestate Succession Act, and your closest living relatives will inherit.
Choose a guardian
If you are sole guardian, or both parents pass away simultaneously, you can appoint another person who has your minor children’s interests at heart to be the guardian in your will.
Keep your will safe
While institutions such as banks or financial service providers offer a safe-keeping service for a small fee, you are not obliged to use them. The most important element is that your original will is stored in a safe place and be easily accessible by your loved ones.