This week is all about Wills. National Wills Week (26-30 October) is in full swing and if you don’t already have a Will, now is the perfect time to get this important task sorted out.
Because, during Wills Week you can have a valid, high-quality will drafted by a professional attorney absolutely FREE of charge! Click this link for participating attorneys in your area, and make an appointment now.
But I don’t have anything of value to leave
Many people think they don’t need a Will because they’re not wealthy. Or, that their spouse or children will automatically inherit their possessions when they die.
The truth is that everyone over the age of 18, regardless of their state of health or wealth, should have a valid Will. Not having one can lead to lengthy delays in settling your affairs, during which time your bank account may be frozen and your dependents left in financial difficulty. This can cause huge stress, especially if you don’t have a funeral plan and relatives are left struggling to pay for the burial or cremation.
If you don’t have a Will, you give up your right to decide who will inherit your assets (both monetary and/or sentimental). Even if you’ve promised a friend they can have your diamond ring or antique server when you die, they won’t get it unless your wishes are properly stated in a valid Will.
Not having a Will can cause conflict and unhappiness amongst family members –not only over the money or possessions you leave behind – but also when it comes to making decisions such as burial v. cremation.
Making your preference known through a Will is both helpful and comforting for those who must make the arrangements. You can also let your family know whether you wish to be kept alive through artificial life support should you fall into a coma with no reasonable chance of recovery (also known as a living Will) and whether or not you wish your organs to be donated.
I don’t need a Will because I don’t have any family
If you don’t have any blood relatives and you don’t leave a Will, your assets could go to the state. Isn’t it better to surprise an old friend with an unexpected windfall, or leave your money to an organisation that has helped you, or whose work you admire?
If you choose to leave a bequest to Tafta (The Association for the Aged), please let us know so that we can thank you, and possibly plan with you how the money will be used.
With all these reasons to get your affairs in order without delay, plus free assistance during Wills Week, why not make an appointment right now? Be prepared by getting together the necessary details:
- Your ID book, card or passport
- Details of any dependents (children under the age of 18, ex spouses who receive an income from you, etc)
- Details of the guardian you wish to care for minor children in the event of your death (Be sure to ask them first!)
- Details of the executors (the person or people who will ensure your wishes are carried out after your death). Many people choose a grown up son or daughter, or a company that will represent you, e.g. Gold Attorneys, Sanlam or Absa.
- Details of your beneficiaries – full names and ID number for individuals, and the correct name of a charity, e.g. Tafta – The Association for the Aged.
Remember that your Will needs to be updated from time to time. For example, if you get married or divorced, have a child, or one of your beneficiaries or executors dies.
After your Will is drawn
Keep your Will in a file or folder where it can be easily found, along with other documents that might make it easier for the people you leave behind. These could include:
- Details of your investments, bank accounts and insurance policies
- A list of your assets
- Contact details of your executor
- A letter explaining to your heirs why you bequeathed certain items to certain people or how you wish them to use their inheritance
- Instructions regarding your funeral