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According to the Law Society of South Africa more than 70% of South Africans are without a last Will and Testament. It is one of the reasons why they have once again organised their member attorney firms to take part in National Wills Week 2022. During this week a basic will can be drawn up for free.
This year the Law Society’s National Wills Week will take place from 12-16 September 2022.
- The Law Society says by making a Will you ensure that your assets are disposed of in accordance with your wishes after your death. A valid will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, who you would like to act as executor for your estate, and who you wish to nominate as guardian for your children younger than 18 years old.
- It also ensures that there are no unnecessary delays in settling your Estate after your death and that causes close to your heart such as animal welfare, can continue to deliver vital services.
- If you however pass away without leaving a Will, your assets may not be left to the person of your choice and beneficiaries such as animal welfare organisations may be out of pocket. It can also take a long time to have an executor appointed. The executor who is appointed might also be somebody you may not have chosen yourself.
- The Law Society says there can also be extra and unnecessary costs. There can also be unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because of the lack of instructions on how to distribute your assets.
- According to the Society it is important that a qualified attorney draws up your Will because he can advise you on any problem which may arise when it is implemented. An attorney also has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your Will is valid and complies with your wishes.
- If you pass away without leaving a valid Will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. The provisions of this Act are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children, and to siblings or parents.
- Even if you do not have children, without a Will you forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and your 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 and causes you care for will have to do without necessary support.
The Society has called on the public not to procrastinate and stay part of the 70% statistic but to secure their legacy by making use of National Wills Week.