Why you need a last will and testament

Having a valid will matters. It is one of the most important documents to tick off on your to-do list of essential personal admin.

Why you need a last will and testament

It is also known as a last will and testament and provides peace of mind on multiple levels: it ensures that your loved ones will be taken care of when you pass away; it safeguards your heirs’ inheritance; it makes provision for asset distribution to happen according to your wishes; it empowers you to make decisions about what you’d like to leave behind, before it’s too late; and it is a legal document that complies with South African estate law.

What if you don’t have a will? 

If you pass away without a last will and testament, your estate will be divided according to a formula set by the law of intestate succession and you will have no say in asset distribution, which may not align with your wishes. Without a will, you also cannot appoint preferred guardians for minor children to ensure that they are cared for by someone you trust when you pass away. Passing away without a will also means you run risk of causing chaos and drama for your loved ones at a difficult time in their lives.

Other useful tools for your estate planning

Apart from what you include in your last will and testament, there are some other important considerations to take into account when doing estate planning

  • Power of attorney: This lets you grant a trusted person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions for yourself. This is a meaningful way of ensuring that your affairs are managed effectively, even if you are unable to do so personally.
  • Testamentary trust: In your will you can establish testamentary trusts, which come into effect when you pass away, to provide ongoing financial security and support for your loved ones, especially minor children. It could also include individuals with disabilities or special needs, who may not be capable of managing an inheritance themselves.
  • Living trust: An inter vivos trust, or living trust, is a wealth-structuring tool that protects assets across generations and lets you leave an inter-generational inheritance. Unlike a testamentary trust it does not only come into effect when you pass away, so it can be used during your lifetime to support beneficiaries financially.

Understanding estate law and inheritance

Most of us are not legal experts who are familiar with the intricacies of estate law and know the legal implications of inheritance. That’s why it is worth consulting a wills and trust specialist who is qualified to advise on estate planning. They can then draft a will for you that reflects your circumstances and wishes. 

Do not neglect this essential piece of personal admin. Your legacy and the well-being of your loved ones depend on it.

Whether you’re in need of a will, life insurance, education cover,
or the power of all three, we have got you covered.