Written by Cherise Hansen on June 7, 2012. Posted in last will and testament, succession, wills

last willIn a world of uncertainties, one thing is certain – DEATH. Although the one thing you may not be certain of is when you are going to die, you can be certain that your family is taken care of and your wishes are made known as to what will happen to your assets when you die.  The simplest way to do this is to make sure that you have a will.

Here are 7 simple reasons why you should have a will:

  1. A will brings you peace of mind in that you will know that you have dealt with your assets in the manner that you wanted to and you will also ensure that your family is taken care of.
  2. If you die without a will, your estate will be dealt with in terms of the law and the law prescribes who will inherit. Someone who you have wanted to share in the inheritance or who you would have liked to have received a particular asset could easily be excluded from inheriting in this instance. In the same breath, there may be people who would inherit in terms of the law whom you may not have wanted to inherit.
  3. You can appoint a guardian who can take care of your children should your spouse or partner pass away.
  4. If you have a will, you can nominate your own executor. If you die without a will, you have no control over who is appointed as your executor. It is also possible to negotiate an executor’s fee with the person whom you wish to nominate as executor and include this in your will. Without a will, your estate will be liable to pay the prescribed executor’s fee which could put constraints on your estate to find the cash to pay your executor.
  5. In your will can also exempt your executor from providing security to the Master of the High Court. If you die without a will, your executor will be obliged to provide security to the Master of the High Court. This may possibly delay the finalisation of your estate which could have dire consequences for your family.
  6. If you don’t have a will and you have minor children who will inherit, then the inheritance must be paid into the Guardian’s Fund at the Master of the High Court who will make the payment to the children when they become adults. This may be a problem when the major asset in your estate is the family home and there is no cash in your estate to pay the inheritance to the Guardian’s Fund. The family home will in all likelihood then have to be sold in order for the executor to pay the minor children’s inheritance into the Guardian’s fund. This could easily be dealt with in a will if you provided for a testamentary trust.
  7. If drafted properly, a will can also be used as an effective tax planning tool.

Many people do not realise the complications and problems that are often left for your families and loved ones to deal with simply because you failed to leave a will.

A will is probably the most important document that you should have, yet in our experience it is the one document that most people never get round to doing. Give your family and yourself peace of mind by ensuring that your get a will drawn up and executed.

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