Updated: Feb 19
70% of South Africans die without a will, leaving their families to deal with a great amount of administration, while grieving.
If you’re wondering whether you need a will, you probably do. 70% of South Africans die without a valid will, leaving their families to deal with a great amount of administration, while grieving.
By creating a will, you protect your family by lessening the administrative burden while grieving your death and allowing them to get access to essential funds sooner.
By creating a will, you protect your family by lessening the administrative burden while grieving your death and allowing them to get access to funds or assets which could be essential for their ongoing maintenance and support.
If you die without a will, your estate is administered in terms of the laws in the Intestate Succession Act, which prescribes a structure for dividing up your assets between family.
To appoint your own executor
Writing a will allows you to appoint an executor who will take care of the administration of your estate upon your passing. Quickwill allows you to choose your own executor, but provides the option of choosing the Quickwill Estate Administrators in the event that you have no one of your own to appoint. Quickwill's Estate Administrator is the law firm, Fairbridges Wertheim Becker Inc., with a presence in both Cape Town and Johannesburg.
We recommend you choose your own executor, who can then negotiate the legally prescribed maximum fee of 3.5% (plus VAT) on the gross value of your estate, when the time comes. By appointing the executor you are eliminating the process where your family need to nominate executors (with motivation) which then needs to be approved by the Master of the High Court before they can proceed with the administration of your estate.
To appoint a guardian for your minor children
If you have minor children you will need to make provision for their legal guardians. You appoint legal guardians for your children in a will. This means that upon your passing, these guardians will legally be considered to be the caretakers of your children. Should you fail to have appointed a guardian for your children, application will have to be made to the High Court to appoint someone as the guardian for your children. People close to you would have to step forward to put this process in motion and ensure your children have a legal guardian.
Easily accessible inheritance to minor children
Another consideration with minor children is to ensure that they can readily access their inheritance. This can be achieved by leaving their portion of the inheritance to your spouse and their parent with the understanding that they will apply this inheritance towards the care of the family. Alternatively, you can create a Children’s Trust in terms of which the children’s inheritance is kept and managed until the trust terminates. You can choose when the trust terminates. In the absence of an arrangement like this, the children’s inheritance will be held by the Guardian’s Fund (a government association) and their guardian’s will have to apply for funds to be released as and when the children need it, making it a slow and administratively intensive process.
For swift administration of your estate and peace of mind
You may find yourself in a situation where you do not have a lot of assets or money, and think that it’s not necessary for you to have a will because your estate is too small. If you have people who are dependant on you for financial help for schooling or medication for instance, having a will ensures that the monies that can help them is released much sooner than if you were to die intestate.
To leave gifts or assets to specific people / charities
Should you have assets or money that you want to leave to specific people or charities, it is important to put those in your will, otherwise those wishes of yours cannot be legally adhered to.
It’s clear that having a will safeguards and protects your family, while ensuring your wishes are adhered to and your estate is administered in an organised and swift manner. Start drafting your will now at www.quickwill.co.za! We have online support to help you through the process if you get stuck or have any questions.