Having a will may be something most South African's have contemplated getting at some stage. However, according to the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), 43% of people haven't gotten around to sealing the deal when it comes to creating a will.
Not having a will can have far-reaching consequences than what most people expect. Here is what you need to know.
You can’t control who gets to inherit what
When someone passes away without a will, The Master of the High Court may appoint what is known as an executor-dative who will be responsible for administering your estate (all your money, assets and belongings are called an 'estate'). You have no control over who this person (most likely a family member or attorney) will be, and no guarantee that they will know what your wishes for your assets are since there is no Will to give them guidance and instructions.
Assets and valuable could end with the wrong people
They probably won’t know that your sister always wanted your jewellery collection or they may not know about children you’ve raised outside of wedlock that need to be provided for. Neither will an executor-dative know to make provision for your parents and so on. Without a Will, your estate must be administered by a set of rules called “intestate succession”.
It can make the process long for your family
But more importantly than that, your estate is frozen until it is decided who is to be appointed to take care of your estate. That means any funeral policy, any Stokvel amount you had saved, the retirement savings taken out of your salary by your company – none of your loved ones can access any of that until things are finalised. And without a Will, this takes much longer.
Your partner can be left with nothing
There are situations where a partner is left with nothing if they have not been married to the deceased. If your will has not been updated from a previous marriage, it can also leave your partner exposed financially where the ex-wife/husband or family members can come and claim your belongings.
Family feuds can break out
If you are not clear on how you want your inheritance to be distributed amongst your loved ones, it could lead to feuds, especially when it comes to children inheriting a lump sum of money.
You can get a legally recognised will online
While it is possible to draft a will on your own the process can be tedious. There are also options for you to approach a financial institution such as banks or a lawyer to draft a will for you. However, MiWayLife understands the process of getting something important without any hassle. This is why you can apply for a legally recognised will online that will be kept up to date.