- Capital Legacy
- September 11, 2023
The easy will journey - Part 1: Procrastination is a thief
As SA’s #1 wills and estates specialists, we’ve seen the chaos and drama that families are left with when a loved one passes away without a will. Our mission is to make the loss of a loved one easier and we’re hoping that this 6-part blog series will educate and empower you to make good decisions – because your legacy is at stake. The most important part of the journey is to start.
“My advice is never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the biggest thief of time and legacies” — Charles Dickens adapted.
Procrastination is the enemy of progress, and this is especially true when it comes to drafting a will. Your last will and testament is a legally binding document outlining how you want your assets to be distributed after you pass away. It also allows you to nominate guardians for your minor children and make other important decisions about your legacy.
Unfortunately, many people put off drafting a will for various reasons, and they are part of the 75% of South Africans who might die without a will. They may think they are too young, may not have many assets, or may believe the process is too complicated. However, the truth is that everyone, regardless of age or assets, should have a will.
Real-Life Story: The Piano Factory Tragedy
Let’s illustrate the consequences of procrastination with a real-life example. Imagine a successful businessman who owned a valuable piano factory in China. Later in life, he moved to South Africa, married his second wife, and gained a stepchild. However, he never updated his will to include his second wife and stepson.
Tragically, he passed away in 2021, and the result was devastating. His first wife and two daughters inherited his entire piano factory, leaving nothing for his second wife and stepson. He could have avoided this heart-wrenching situation with a simple update to his will. True story.
Different Stages of Your Life
Shakespeare once said, “All the world is but a stage.” Still, as you advance on your life journey, you realize people have several stages during their lives because life happens in different phases. Let’s explore these stages with a touch of wit:
In Your 20s and 30s: The Early Act
In your 20s and 30s, you may not have many assets or dependents, but you should still seriously consider writing a will. You may have a car, bling, heirlooms, or savings that you may want to leave to specific people. In your will, you can name an executor responsible for carrying out your wishes.
If you have minor children, think about who would be a suitable guardian. If something were to happen to you, it would help social workers guide the court regarding your wishes. Without a guardian nomination, the court might appoint one for you, which may not be your chosen person. And hey, don’t forget those digital assets like cryptocurrency, so your loved ones aren’t left puzzled in the crypto wilderness!
In Your 40s and 50s: The Middle Act
Life gets more complicated in your 40s and 50s, a bit like a Shakespearean plot twist. You may have acquired more assets, bought a home, had children, or experienced the joys of divorce (which, statistically speaking, is like a Shakespearean tragedy). Update your will to reflect these changes. Consider who you want to inherit your assets and property, including charities or organizations you support.
Maybe you’ve ventured into the business world or have offshore assets – additional considerations for your will. And don’t forget those retirement and life insurance policies; they go to the designated beneficiary, regardless of what your will says. Ensure your beneficiary nominations reflect your current wishes.
In Your 60s and Beyond: The Grand Finale
If you’ve retired, sold your home, exited businesses, or lost a spouse, it’s time to update your will again. Consider your healthcare wishes and include them in your will. A living will outlines your wishes for end-of-life care.
Talking to your loved ones about your will and wishes is essential. Let them know where your will is located and who your executor is. This conversation can help prevent confusion and conflict after you pass away.
Conclusion: The Final Bow
No matter what stage of life you’re in, having a will is crucial. A will ensures that your wishes are followed, and your loved ones are cared for after you pass away. Even if you don’t have a lot of assets or property, a will is still important as it removes confusion and conflict by clearly documenting your wishes.
And remember, a will isn’t a one-act play; it should be reviewed and updated regularly. Life is unpredictable, and your circumstances change over time. Keeping your will updated helps ensure that your wishes are always reflected.
So, don’t let procrastination steal the show. Draft your will, take control of your legacy, and ensure your final act aligns with your life’s script.
Capital Legacy has drafted over 650,000 wills over the last 10 years and can assist you in drafting yours, too. Arrange your complimentary will-drafting consultation and get peace of mind today: Link to Capital Legacy Website.
Look out for more blogs in this series, launching soon!
Whether you’re in need of a
will, life insurance, education
or the power of all three, we have got you covered.
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