“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something
worth reading or do something worth writing“
Many people miss the importance of a will. The last opportunity you have to ensure you leave your belongings to whom you want to, to the ones you truly love.
Current stats show that 86% of South Africans do not have a will in place and this can leave your loved ones in an extremely uncomfortable situation upon your death, possibly even in a world of debt.
When you die without a valid will, your estate is distributed by the state, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act.
Dying this way removes your control, and final say, and can lead to people you never wished to inherit, benefit from it.
What is a will? It is a signed and witnessed document that shows how you wish to distribute your assets, name executors and if necessary appoint guardians for your children.
A will must:Be in writingSigned by the testator on each page, and fully on the last pageSigned in front of 2 or more witnesses (witnesses cannot inherit)Although not a requirement, a date can be beneficial, especially if a person has more than one will or codicil.
What about a living will?
Same is not the same as a will or testament. A living will is ‘a declaration which represents the patients wish to refuse any medical treatment and attention in the form of being kept alive by artificial means when a patient can no longer competently express a view’.
Although there is no law regarding the validity of a living will the National Health Act does give each citizen the right to refuse treatment. Again, a living will, like a will, spares your family from making the call and can take the pressure off a decision for organ donation.
Our Attorneys can assist you with your will, and make sure it is valid and legal.
Planning for death is not fun, but in order to leave a happy legacy, it is necessary.
Written by Melissa S Bonner
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