Four decades to get my first last will and testament

In my winter of 59, I got my first last will and testament. Even though it kind of sounds like a song by Bryan Adams, it isn’t. It is more the tale of getting a will a month or two before Father’s Day.

Four decades to get my first last will and testament

One would think that during a career spanning four decades in news writing at radio stations, television stations and various newspapers, I would already have had a will. Or had the savvy to have had several already, knowing that at every big life change, one should change your will.

But, dear readers (fathers especially), as it turns out I knew very little about estates. Truth be told, I didn’t even know I had an estate. I thought you had to be worth gazillions of bucks to be really concerned about estates and a will. 

I was also a master in the procrastination class of 2022. Not only did I know how to spell the word, but I was equally adept at weaving procrastination spells convincing myself why “it wasn’t necessary to draft a will yet. And anyway, wills are only for old people, right?”

And so, this quinquagenarian (that means between 50 and 59 years old) began a new career at Capital Legacy, the will champions, at the well-seasoned age of 59.

Obviously, I was asked by my new and helpful boss if an expert could help me refine my will, seeing that I had joined the marketing department of the wills dream team.

My “What will?” led to a deafening silence… And the drafting of my last will and testament the following day.

So, is this now an article written to play on your sentiment because you are a father and give us the opportunity to convince you how important a will is? And to further explain to you how expensive it is to pass away and how you can nullify those expenses?

The answer is a resounding yes.

And you would be daft not to read further (unless you already have a will).

Advantages of a will

  1. Children: The first and foremost advantage is to your kids. Parents love their children and would like to provide for them when they are no longer there to do so themselves. In a will, you can make specific provisions for your children in the form of a testamentary trust, for example. You may also nominate guardians to take care of your children in the event of both you and your spouse passing away. Guardians are people you trust to take very good care of your children.
  2. Selecting your beneficiaries: In South Africa, Common Law plays a big part in the legislation regarding inheritance. You have freedom of testation, meaning you may decide who you want to inherit what. There are other laws also playing a part, so please speak to an expert.
  3. You may also nominate the executor who you want to wind up your estate. The executor has to be confirmed by the Master of the High Court.
  4. Property: Another reason a consultation is important is property and the inheritance thereof. If you purchase property abroad, you will need to consider the specific country’s relevant jurisdiction as it may differ from South African legislation. Capital Legacy is able to assist you in this regard as well.
  5. The unexpected costs of dying: Most people don’t know there are other costs beyond the funeral, and this catches the grieving family off guard and puts financial pressure on them.
  6. Speed up the administration process: Your will cuts away a lot of red tape in the process of winding up your estate. Because you have nominated an executor, there needn’t be a lengthy process to appoint one for you. The same applies to the guardians. By nominating them, you give the social worker and the court a point of reference to work from. The High Court also lends high credence to guardians nominated in your will.

The costs of passing away

But I don’t have R250 000 stashed under my mattress to qualify for having an estate, you say. My answer to that is, nay; if you for instance own a house, or a car and have a bit of savings which total more than R250k, you have an estate.

And you need a will to indicate how you want your estate to be distributed, otherwise the government will do it for you according to South African legislation.

I have mentioned that you will need an executor to wind up your estate as indicated in your will. That is law, by the way.

Most people, as I was, are under the impression that if you have a funeral plan, you may financially pass in peace, so to speak.

That is a false impression.

To wind up your will, an executor is entitled to 3.5% of the gross value of your estate. And the executor is also entitled to 6% of the income of your estate until it is wound up. An example will be if you own a townhouse or two which is rented out and brings a monthly income to your estate.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but on an estate of R4 million that could be R140 000 that your estate will have to cough up. Cash. And, if the estate doesn’t have it, being illiquid, the executor will have to sell assets to get the money. To spell it out, if the beneficiaries don’t have that kind of money or aren’t willing to fork it out, your estate may have to kiss the family car goodbye…  or even the house.

A consultation with a Capital Legacy expert ensures that no details or considerations have been missed, which could save your family a lot of drama if anything were to happen to you. Our consultants will calculate your estimated cost of dying quickly and guide you through the various affordable solutions we have available to indemnify these fees and costs (such as executor fees, conveyancing fees, Master’s fees and other expenses that arise). Simply put, it’s an insurance policy integrated with your will that pays for the fees and costs when you pass away.

I am now a sexagenarian (between 60 and 69 years old), father of four, grandfather of two and very proud of myself (and very relieved, I must admit), that I have achieved what just more than 70% of our population never accomplish. 

I have a will.

To all the fathers out there, enjoy Father’s Day, don’t procrastinate, and contact your financial advisor or Capital Legacy for a free will-drafting consultation.

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