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A Guide to Making Your Will

Guide to preparing your WillDo you have a valid Will? Many people underestimate the importance of having a valid and up to date will that contains all your testamentary wishes.

A standard blank purchased form is NOT comprehensive enough and in most cases will leave your estate in disarray which will grossly prejudice your family. 
 
Not only does a will allow you to determine the manner in which your estate is to be divided amongst you loved ones but it also allows you to nominate the Executor of your estate.

The Executor has the important duty of attending to the winding up of your estate and gives effect to the contents of your will in the best manner he can. The Executor of your estate needs to be a trustworthy person as he is in charge of if collecting all your assets and settling your debts and dividing the balance of the assets amongst your heirs. 

Where no will exists, the family has to nominate someone they all agree on to act as Executor and this can prove to be very difficult with inter-family relationships. If the family cannot agree on a nominee, the Master of the High Court will have to elect someone and this will inevitably delay the process of reporting the estate, all the while interest continues to run on the estate's outstanding debts such as mortgage bonds, overdraft facilities and credit agreements.
 
If you die without a will, your estate will be distributed in terms of the rules of Intestate Succession and what happens to your estate will depend on your marital status, whether you have children, and whether you have other surviving relatives.

  • If you're married, your spouse will inherit your entire estate.
  • If you're married with children, your estate will be shared between your spouse and your children.
  • If you have children but no spouse, you children will inherit your entire estate which will be deposited into the Guardian's Fund until they reach the age of majority.
  • If you don't have a spouse or any children your parents will get everything.
  • If you don't have parents, your siblings will inherit and so on and so forth.
  • If you have divorced your spouse and have not updated your will within 3 months, your ex-spouse will inherit fully in terms of your will. 

Your will can also nominate who will act as guardians of your minor children upon your death and create a trust to provide for their future maintenance and education.
 
It is therefore imperative that you have a valid, up to date will drafted to ensure that upon your death, your loved ones will be taken care of and not faced with the stress of making such difficult decisions, whilst in mourning.
 
We have created a comprehensive instruction sheet for you to download which you should complete and bring this with you to your legal representative to ensure your Estate is organised for any circumstance.


This invaluable information prepared for MomsMatter by TNK. For all your queries regarding wills and estate planning needs, please contact Neil Knight of Tate, Nolan & Knight Attorneys on   031 – 563 1874  031 – 563 1874    031 – 563 1874  031 – 563 1874   or neil@tnk.co.za

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