A will is a legal document which details what happens to your assets when you die. If there is no will, the Law will make this decision for you. This could be a very lengthy and costly event taking up to 3 years to resolve! Your heirs could also have tax, legal and administration problems which could cost them a lot of money. If you do not have a will or you need to update your will, we can help you.
Tips on Drawing up a Will
Here are 10 useful tips:
- Keep it simple. Complicated wills may not be understood and often lead to court cases.
- Review your will regularly.
- Provide accurate and clear details of your assets (especially properties and valuables) and their beneficiaries. For each beneficiary include their full name, address and relationship to you.
- Make sure you have informed your insurance company of changes to beneficiary nominations on your retirement funds and insurance policies. Most insurance companies do not accept changes to the nominated beneficiary in a will.
- Remember that the costs of winding up a deceased estate are met from whatever remains after your beneficiaries have received their inheritance.
- Do not nominate beneficiaries on all policies if doing this would lead to a shortage of cash in your estate. This will cause delays in the administration of the deceased estate. (read our section on Liquidity of your Estate)
- Do not appoint executors and guardians without consulting them. Inform them about your wishes in detail and in writing. Do not appoint an unqualified person as an executor as it is unlikely to be approved by the Master of the High Court, except in very small estates.
- File the original documents safely. Make sure that your executors and guardians know where you have filed them. (see our section on Record Keeping)
- Do not leave assets that do not belong to you.
- Do not leave your wealth directly to minor children (i.e. under 21 years) because it will be administered by the state in the Guardian’s Fund. Rather leave it to a trust for their benefit.