The reality is that we are all going to face death one day. It can be an unsettling feeling, thinking about your death.
However, you can decide to leave your possessions that you have been working all your life to build in a will that will be distributed among your loved ones fairly without everyone fighting over your valuables, or you could end up rolling in your coffin at the thought that your least favourite relative has their hands on your beloved items.
Nonetheless, there is still some misunderstanding surrounding wills that can end up costing you. In some cases, it can cause your will to not be legally recognised which can turn anyone into an angry ghost. Here are three things that are misunderstood about wills that you need to know about.
Aren’t wills for people who are married, have children or the elderly?
Having a will is not only limited to people who are married, have children, or elderly. Legally, you can draw up a will once you turn 16 years old and are mentally capable of understanding what you are doing. If you have possessions-no matter how small- or people you care about that you would like to have your possessions, getting a will is a step in the right direction.
The latest figures by the Master of Courts revealed that 70% of South Africans do not have a will in place. This could leave many South Africans exposed to having their possessions handed over to the law who will separate it as they see fit, resulting in your loved ones receiving their fair share or nothing at all. Appointing an executor of your choice will eliminate such issues. They will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are fulfilled. It is best to appoint a lawyer or a professional as the executor. You can also opt for a trusted friend or family member.
Drafting a will is complicated and is expensive
This depends on where you get your will drawn up. In most cases, this could be drawn up for free, but there could be a fee that is charged in terms of the safe keeping of your will. If you are planning on using an executor, you will pay an executor fee that is levied at 3.5%. During the process of drafting a will from a professional, they will explain the process so that you understand what you are signing. You are free to update your will as you see fit which can be adaptable for the various life stages such as having a child, getting married, purchasing a car or even property.
I have told my family and loved ones what I want, do I still need a will?
You may love them to pieces but having a legally binding document is the best. When grief and money are involved with no proof of who said what, it can cause friction and even separations. Having a valid will can prevent your loved ones clawing at each other’s throats. Remember to check the Wills Act 7 of 1953 to see if it is valid.