Building and maintaining wealth is one part of the journey to financial freedom, but how do you make sure that all your hard work is protected and given to the right people?
Having a will in place can help you solve this problem. Creating a legally recognised gives you control on who will receive your assets and investments and also help you avoid people making an illegal claim to it.
Creating a legally recognised will
The available options to create a legally recognised will in South Africa is to take out one with a lawyer, financial institution such as a bank or life insurance companies.
The person or company you appoint to write and maintain your will is known as an executor. For example, you can get your will legally drafted at MiWayLife and kept for you in a safe. When you pass on MiWayLife will carry out the instructions that you have placed in your will.
Just remember that there is a fee that you will need to pay to keep your will active and updated. An executor will ensure that any debt you might have is handled and they will also invest on your behalf if you have stated so in your will.
In a situation where you are unable to choose an executor and pass on, the court will appoint a family member to play the role of an executor. Therefore, it's vital to choose someone you trust and know will respect your final wishes.
Make sure that it complies with the Wills Act
For people who prefer the D.I.Y route of creating a will need to make sure that it complies with the Wills Act 7 of 1953 to make it a legally recognised will. Signing each page at the bottom is crucial but keep in mind that you need to:
Be competent to draft a will. This means you need to be 16 years or older and understand what you are doing. It will not be legalised if the person who has drafted the will has a mental incapacity to understand what a will is and how it affects them.
You cannot be a beneficiary. If you are drafting the will by hand or electronically, you cannot list yourself as a beneficiary. Even if you have someone drafting the will on your behalf, they cannot list themselves as a beneficiary.
All documents need to be signed. This is to make the documents valid. The will needs to be signed by the testator (Person who is creating the will), and two other witnesses who are present at the time. In a situation where a testator is disabled or has suffered a stroke, they can sign using their fingerprint. The two witnesses need to be at least 14 years or older to sign.
Date your will accordingly. Although this is not a legally binding requirement, it can make it easier to keep track of if you have more than one will in place.
Are maintenance fees expensive when it comes to wills?
You are mostly going to have to pay a fee towards the maintenance of your will and making sure that it remains updated at all times. The cost of this will depend 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.