What is a Last Will and Testament?
A will is a document that is drafted to resolve all problems that could arise when you are no longer around to manage your financial affairs. A legal, valid Will details all your assets, it names your heirs, stipulates how you would like your belongings to be distributed between your heirs, and how your creditors will be paid etc. It also appoints a person or organisation such as a law firm to ensure that the will is obeyed to the letter.
Why is it Important to Have a Will?
Think of all the decisions you have made today about the care of your loved ones, your business, your home, and your investments. You’re the best person to make those decisions today because of your intimate knowledge of every moving part of your life. Who will make those decisions as well as you can when you are no longer around? It can still be you if you get a Will.
Do you know about Living Wills? The purpose of a Living Will is to assist the family or whoever is left behind with the difficult decision of whether to consent to subject their loved ones to more medical treatment or artificial apparatus. Learn more here (https://greyvensteins.co.za/news-resources/the-important-advantages-of-making-a-living-will/) or speak (hyperlink to Contact page) to one of our attorneys.
You need a Last Will if the value of your assets (minus any outstanding debts) is more than R250 000. Your Will must be reviewed annually and updated in the event of any life-changing events such as the birth or adoption of a child, a marriage or divorce, the death of a loved one and if you emigrate.
It is important to draft a Will if you have young children. Wills and Trusts help you to set up the best financial care for vulnerable members of your family, especially in the unfortunate case of the untimely death of your spouse and yourself.
What is a Trust?
Trusts in South Africa are arrangements that allow people to hold assets without owning them. You can transfer the ownership of your assets to a trust for the benefit of your loved ones, employees or a company. Trusts are governed by a Trust Deed which stipulates how the Trust will be managed, its powers and limitations, and who the beneficiaries will be. If you have young children or grandchildren that will inherit from your Estate, remember to instruct that a Trust be set up for those beneficiaries. If you do not do this, the Executor is compelled by law to pay all cash benefits for minors into the Guardian’s Fund at the Master of the High Court, which invests it with the Public Investment Commissioner. This is not a bad thing; however, it limits the care of those minors to the interest earned on their inheritance that is paid out to their guardians. Learn more about the Guardian’s Fund. A legally appointed Executor can set up a Trust with a framework that allows the Trustee to make financial decisions that support the holistic wellbeing of your minor heirs.
What is the Role of an Executor?
An Executor is a person who will make sure that your Estate is wound up as you have stipulated in your Will. Executors liaise with financial institutions, pay creditors and collects debts owed to the Estate. Surviving family members can act as Executors, however, it can be very difficult for them to manage these legal and financial admins while they are grieving.
Greyvensteins Attorneys can help you create a Will. We will do it for free and keep it safe for you when we administer the Estate or are the Executors. We are based in Gqeberha, Cape Town and Johannesburg.