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Where there is a will there is a way forward – Consider the effect of not having one

National Wills Week 2020 takes place from 26 to 30 October.

In a recent article, Alex Simeonides, CEO and co-founder of Capital Legacy, indicates that more than 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid will in place, resulting in this being a very expensive and long-drawn-out problem for a person’s heirs.

A recent survey conducted by Capital Legacy asked people why their wills are not in order:

43% of respondents said: “I just haven’t got around to it”.
27% said: “I’m not sure where to get my will done”.
21% said: “I think it might be expensive to get a will”.
Only 9% of respondents said they think they don’t need a will.

According to Simeonides, the top 5 consequences of passing away without a will are:

1. The individual forfeits the opportunity to decide who inherits what and his or her estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people whom you may not have wanted to benefit from your estate may inherit your assets and family heirlooms.
2. The individual’s partner may be left with nothing if they are not married, or the will is not updated from a previous marriage.
3. The children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed Guardian rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.
4. Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of the estate if the person’s final wishes are not clearly documented in a will.
5. Winding up an estate can take years – without a will appointing a professional executor, the Government is essentially in control of the process.

The office of the Master in such a dismal state of affairs that the last thing your clients can afford is to be dependent on their efficiency or judgment. It is at least your moral duty to contact your client during National Wills Week and assist them to leave a legacy they want, rather than leave it to chance, and unintended outcomes.

Click here to read Simeonides’ article.

Click here to view an eNCA interview with the Commercial Manager of personal finance for JustMoney, Sarah Nicholson.

Also read:

Execution of wills during lockdown – Covid-19 poses problems

Substantial increase in demand for wills – Covid-19 creates communication opportunity.

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