THE best way to minimise emotional and financial burdens on loved ones is to have a Will.
A Will is a legally binding document which sets out who will inherit your estate; it appoints an executor who will administer your estate; it can appoint a legal guardian for your minor children and can include a Trust for your children or grandchildren for their maintenance and well-being until they reach an age determined by you.
By spending the time now to have your Will drafted and signed, you can save yourself and your family unnecessary stress in the long run.
If you die without leaving a Will your estate will be distributed in terms of the laws of intestate succession and your marital property regime (in or out of community of property with or without the accrual) will also affect who will inherit. This may lead to your life partner not being able to inherit from your estate.
Furthermore, if you pass away without a Will and you have minor children, their share of the inheritance will be paid to the Guardian’s Fund and the capital will only be released once they reach the age of 18.
You current Will can be amended by way of a Codicil or redrafted should your circumstances change, for example marriage, the birth of a child or a divorce.
A simple Will template is often available online but caution must be exercised using these as you may unknowingly not comply with all the legal formalities, namely signing on each page and your signature being witnessed by two unconnected persons.
There may also be ambiguity or your wishes could be unclear.
Livingston Leandy Inc. would be happy to assist you in drafting your Will and ensure all your wishes are expressed properly and accurately in the Will concerning your South African and if applicable, offshore assets. Livingston Leandy Inc. is also able to offer practical advice concerning estate planning. Should you wish to discuss any queries or make an appointment you may contact Claudia Harris or Mike Nolan on 031 536 7500 or email [email protected] or [email protected]. You may also visit our website at www.livingston.co.za.