A Will

Upon your death, everything you own becomes part of your Estate. A will seeks to distribute your legacy according to your own wishes. It is a legal document stating how you wish your Estate to be disposed of (distributed) when you die.

Leeuwner Maritz can assist you in preparing your will so that it is elegant, concise and unambiguous and most importantly, legal.

A testator needs to consider the legal, tax and practical implications of the proposed will.

a) Your Will should include inter alia: 

1. A list of all your assets;

2. Heirs / Beneficiaries must be clearly identified ;–

i Current spouse / ex-spouse (if your ex-spouse is a beneficiary in your current will, he / she could still inherit);

ii Children (born in wedlock / born out of wedlock / adopted) – our law does not differentiate between same;

3. Nominate an executor (a family member / close friend / professional or a combination as co-executors) in your Will. An executor is the person tasked with:

  • Funeral arrangements;
  • Protecting the Estate;
  • Valuing the Estate;
  • Tax issues;

• All aspects of the administration and distribution of the Estate.

4. If you have a large Estate or minor children (under 18) you might want to create a testamentary trust which will take ownership and protect the minors’ inheritance, alternatively such inheritance will be converted to cash and paid to the Guardians Fund.

• Guardians Fund – Same falls under the administration of the Master of the High Court to hold and administer funds paid on behalf of minors. Money is invested with the Public Investment Commission and interest is calculated monthly at a rate per annum (2014/2015 – 7.25%) determined by the Minister of Finance. In the ordinary course a minor can claim the invested money as well as the accrued interest on reaching the age of majority.

5. Legal guardians should be appointed for minor children in the event that both parents die. Alternative guardians should be nominated in the event that the primary guardians pass away before you do;

6. A stipulation that you revoke all previous wills and thus must be dated properly;

7. Preferably it should not state that assets may never be sold by beneficiaries, but rather have such limitation for a limited period of time; (Politics can change)

8. It should stipulate which specific assets are left to specific beneficiaries and how the residue should be allocated to beneficiaries.

b) Signing of a Will

You must sign every page and next to anything you may have amended and it must be witnessed by at least two people who must sign in your presence and in the presence of one another.

The place and date of signing must be written in at the end of the document.

Witnesses should be people who have no interest in the Will, and their signatures merely acknowledge that they saw you sign your Will.

c) How often should a Will be reviewed

Yearly to verify changes in inter alia:

  • Legislation;
  • Assets;
  • Heirs (birth of a child / death in the family);
  • Status (marriage / divorce);
  • Executor (if he / she is still alive and capable).

d) Your family or friends or your appointed professional should know the whereabouts of your will.

“Advise is a verb and advice is a noun. So advice is what is given and the act of giving advice is called advising (or to advise). Most people don’t realize that there is a difference between advice and advise.”