Will And Testament

One of the most important documents any person should have is a will. This document specifies how you wish all that you own to be distributed after your death. Not having a legal and up to date will can end up costing your estate or alternatively your beneficiaries thousands of rands in court applications and civil litigation.

For example: A husband dies leaving behind a wife and 2 children. His estate consists of a house, a car, furniture and some investments. His will states that 50% of his estate goes to his wife and the other 50% is divided between his 2 children. This seems simple enough. But what if his children are under the age of 18? Their share in the property can not be mortgaged or sold without permission from the Master of the High Court (if the value is less than R100 000) or the High Court (if the value is more than R100 000). Everything the children inherit has to be held in trust. Did the will provide for such a trust, if not their inheritances will have to be converted into cash and deposited for their credit in the Guardian’s Fund of the Master of the High Court.

Many people have misconceived ideas about how the process works, and about when claims against a deceased estate are established. Often people are unaware about the costs involved in the administration of their estate and do not make sufficient provision for this in their estate planning. The appointment of a dependable executor in your estate is another area which requires serious attention.

Given the amount of new legislation promulgated annually and the number of contracts, consent forms and other legally binding documents people encounter daily, it is vital that a legal opinion is sought prior to signing such documents. It might end up saving you thousands of rands in unnecessary court cases and litigation.