We all want to protect what matters the most to us, even long after we have died. While we may not have control over our futures, we can plan how and who gets our valuables once we have passed on, through having a legally binding will.
Here are a few handy tips on how you can make a valid will that will be legally recognised.
Have a will in place
It's crucial to have a will in place, to begin with, but how do you go about doing this? There are financial institutions such as banks that offer legally recognised wills. You can also take out a legally recognised will with MiWayLife to make sure that your loved ones and your valuables are protected.
Appoint an executor
Building something of value takes time, and the last thing anyone wants to see is having their legacy end up in the wrong hands or used in a way that was never intended. Therefore, appointing an executor is crucial.
An executor will play a vital role when it comes to making sure that your will is followed to the ‘T’. It's a person or financial institution who you have entrusted.
For example, should you choose MiWayLife to draft your will, MiWayLife will be known as an executor. When you pass on MiWayLife will carry out the instructions that you have placed in your will.
You also have the option of approaching a bank, lawyer, a close family member or friend to handle 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.
Making it legally recognised
While it is possible to draft your own will, it is important to make sure that it complies with the Wills Act 7 of 1953. You will also have to make sure that it is stored in a safe place and updated regularly, which can be a lot of admin if you handle it on your own. Other requirements that are needed to make a will valid are:
Competence to draft a will. 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 an 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. 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.
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.
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.
Having a legally recognised will is much more than protecting your assets and making sure that things end up in the right hand, but it is a legacy you create. It is something that can be felt and appreciated long after you have passed on, giving you peace of mind.