Simple and complex wills

There is a common misconception that only wealthy people or people with multiple assets require a last will & testament. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

Simple and complex wills

There is a common misconception that only wealthy people or people with multiple assets require a last will & testament. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you’re an adult in South Africa with any assets and dependants, getting a will in place is the responsible thing to do. It alleviates enormous complications and delays in the administration of your estate should you pass away. 

Whether your life is simple with only a house, a car and maybe kids, or if you are a business owner, with multiple properties and investments, offshore assets, and complicated trust structures – Capital Legacy have the expertise to assist you.

We tailor-make wills to the specific needs of every individual.

Simple Wills

Even with people requiring a basic will it’s advisable to let a professional help you draft your will to advise on best practice and what to look out for.

For example, with minor children, it is advisable to make provision for them to receive their inheritance through a testamentary trust structure. Failing to do so may result in their inheritance passing to their guardian or the Government Guardian’s Fund.

We help thousands of people every month quickly and efficiently get their wills in place and help safeguard their legacies.

Complex Wills

People with more complicated estates, multiple assets and investments and potentially offshore interests will have to take various factors into account when drafting their will. Taxes, transferring of assets and offshore administration of their estate with multiple stakeholders requires in-depth technical understanding of estate administration and tax law.

Any mistakes in the estate planning process could have very serious implications for your beneficiaries and jeopardise your legacy. 

Factors to consider include:

  • A divorce decree with an ex-spouse and/or child maintenance
  • Stepchildren or other individuals to whom you provide financial assistance
  • Multiple properties
  • Special bequests
  • Existing trusts
  • Business ownership and business interests, and the respective partnership agreements and business succession planning
  • Offshore assets
  • Previous inheritances

Capital Legacy helps clients with very basic estates all the way up to clients with net worth’s running into hundreds of millions of Rands.

What information is included in a will?

  • Who your beneficiaries are. Your will stipulates who will benefit from your estate and what portion of your estate you bequeath (give) to them.
  • Whether a testamentary trust should be created for beneficiaries who may be minors at the time of your death.
  • Who the trustees should be if you do require a trust be set up.
  • Who the guardians of your minor children should be.
  • Who the executor of your estate should be.
  • Your last wishes, such as whether you want to be buried, be an organ donor, etc.

What are the consequences of NOT having a Will in place?

  • Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of your estate when final wishes are not clearly documented in a will.
  • Winding up your estate can take years – without a will appointing a professional executor, the government is essentially in control of the process.
  • You lose the ability to nominate a Guardian of your choice for your minor children.
  • You forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and that your estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people who you may not have wanted to benefit from your estate may inherit your estate.
  • Your partner may be left with nothing if you are not married, or your will is not updated from a previous marriage.
  • Your children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed guardian rather than to a trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.

Do’s and don’ts when drafting your will


  • To avoid ambiguity, clearly specify who your beneficiaries are and what each of them will inherit.
  • Provide the full names of your beneficiaries and define your relationship, to avoid confusion.
  • Consult with someone who understands the Wills Act and other relevant legislation, to ensure that you do not fall foul to the law.
  • Draw up separate wills for yourself and for your spouse. It may eliminate delays in the estate administration process if you and your spouse were to die simultaneously or within a short period of time from each other.


  • DON’T try to rule from the grave – meaning that the beneficiary would have to fulfil a specific requirement to receive their inheritance. An example is if you want your daughter to marry a specific person before she may receive your estate or part thereof.
  • DON’T leave bequests to your pets. According to law, pets are classified as property and may, therefore, not receive property. What you may do, is set up a trust to specify the terms of your pet’s housing and care.
  • DON’T try to list every single asset you own and nominate too many beneficiaries but rather only specify one or two significant items like family heirlooms or specific jewellery if you feel the need to. An overly complicated will can create delays and family conflict.

Liquidity in your Estate

Regardless of how simple or complex your estate may be, you need to ensure there is sufficient liquidity or available cash within your estate to cover some of the following costs:

  • The transfer of property to your heirs, or to pay for the required rates and taxes
  • Executor fees
  • Trustee fees
  • Debts and other liabilities

Our unique Legacy Protection Plan™ ensures you can cover all legal and administrative costs, alleviating the financial burden on your estate and beneficiaries. Our integrated MyCover™ Plan can also be included to ensure you’ve made provision for debts and ongoing living expenses for your family.

You can read more about the Legacy Protection Plan™ on our website.

If you would like to get in contact with one of our consultants to draft your complimentary will, simply submit your information on our website and one of our booking agents will contact you or speak to your financial advisor.

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