Never (really) too young to have a will

Wills are only for old people or rich people, right? Not true! Believe it or not, but you are never really too young to have a will. Nor do you have to be worth gazillions or own ginormous assets to have a will, either.

Never (really) too young to have a will

You can legally have a will from age 16, and when you turn 18 you really should have one because that’s when you are no longer a minor and can own investments and property in your own right.

No-one likes to think about dying, and it is highly unlikely to be on your list of considerations when you are in your 20s or 30s. However, a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones – no matter how young you are, or how few assets you own.

Drafting your will is far less complicated, and much quicker, than you might think. The simplest wills are often the best wills, so it does not have to be complex or time consuming. A professional will-drafter could probably sort you out in an hour or less and it doesn’t have to cost you a cent – banks and lawyers might charge for it, but there are wills and estates specialists who do not charge for drafting, amendments or safekeeping of your will.

What is a will for?

Many people think that if you have a funeral plan, you don’t need a will, but the two are not the same, so take care not to confuse them. A will sets out who you want your possessions to go to, and makes your wishes clear, whereas funeral cover is for the immediate costs of a funeral or cremation.

Few people realise that even if your will simply says that you leave your things to your parents, siblings or friends, it is better than not having a will at all. Apart from the emotional strain, you risk unnecessary drama among family and friends about who should receive what, if you don’t leave a will. Passing away without a will (intestate) also means you have no say in what happens to your possessions because a legal formula is then applied to whatever you leave behind.

So, even if you do not want to think about dying (who does?!), consider having a will drafted, for the sake of your loved ones’ peace of mind and to make life easier for them should something happen to you. It is up to you whether you leave them with a chaotic situation to sort out at a difficult time in their lives, or rather spare them the trauma.

Remember your digital assets too. Maybe you have tried out cryptocurrency, or you are active on social media. Without writing these details into a will, it may be difficult for your loved ones to access your accounts after you pass away. Imagine owning bitcoin and not being able to leave those funds to a person or cause you care about.

It is also a good idea for a trusted friend or family member to be able to close your social media accounts if you are no longer around, rather than leaving those profiles active. (Some platforms allow you to nominate one of your existing connections to manage your account if you can no longer do so yourself.) It can be very distressing for those left behind if social media accounts remain open, so this is another way to limit heartache for the people you care about.

Apart from possessions and digital assets, you should also think about your healthcare wishes. If you cannot make decisions for yourself, think of who you would trust to make medical decisions that are in line with your wishes.

Why else would a young person need a will?

There are three specific instances where you should seriously consider having a will, even if you are still young:

  1. If you are a parent. Then you should not only have a will but it should also include your preferred guardian for your child, make provision for a children’s trust to be established, and name the trustees who must administer the funds on behalf of your child.
  2. If you have received an inheritance. Your will must state who the inheritance should go to if something happens to you.
  3. If your parent or guardian took out a tax-free savings account in your name. Similar to an inheritance, your will should say who these funds should go to if you are no longer around.

It is definitely worth having a will – even if you are in your 20s or 30s, and even if you don’t own big assets or property. A will can save your family and friends a lot of drama if anything were to happen to you, and it ensures that your wishes are carried out. So, think about who you would want your possessions to go to.

In South Africa, there are more than 20 million people in their 20s and 30s (Statista Demographics Report 2022). Capital Legacy is driving awareness among these age groups of the value and importance of having a will. By offering free will-drafting, including easy online wills, the aim is to make it simple and accessible to get a valid will in place for people of all ages.

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