The easy will journey - Part 2: Your will is like a map for your loved ones

They say life is a journey, a winding path with twists and turns, unexpected detours, and the occasional serene view.

The easy will journey - Part 2: Your will is like a map for your loved ones

But have you ever considered that your last will and testament is like a map for the journey of your assets after you’ve passed away? And that without a map, your estate will have to strictly abide by the rigid rules and direction of the state and will take longer to wind up and cause untold drama for your family.

Dying without a will could have detrimental consequences for your loved ones because your assets might not be distributed according to how you may have wanted or what your loved ones might have expected. The reason is that, according to South African law, if you die without leaving a valid will, the Intestate Succession Act, Act No. 81 of 1987, and other applicable legislation will govern how your estate is distributed.

 You may want your estate divided between your surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings according to a specific ratio. However, according to the Intestate Succession Act, your estate will devolve according to a precise ratio and specific hierarchy.

Losing your co-pilot 

An executor is like your loyal co-pilot. Your will lets you nominate the executor of your estate. Your executor is the trusted person who handles the winding up of your estate. 

Without a will and nominating an executor, 

be prepared for delayed estate settlement, extra costs, and family frustration that may come your way.

Dying Without a Will: The One-Way State Lane

When you die without a will, the Intestate Succession Act becomes the guide for your estate, determining who gets what in your life’s treasure chest. 

It starts with the legally married surviving spouse and children, following a script written in legal stone. The executor’s role is clear – their job is to enforce these legal directives, and improvisation isn’t in their script.

Ideally, the surviving legally married spouse inherits R250,000 or a child’s share, while the children inherit their designated portion. It may, of course, be much more depending on the size of your estate. 

But if you harboured dreams of bequeathing your legacy to non-relatives or a charitable cause, prepare for a twist in the road as your wishes are silenced if you don’t have a will.

The grim fate of no heirs: the hidden pitfall

Now, imagine a tale where you have no descendants waiting to inherit your estate. Your assets face a grim fate – liquidation and a journey into the Government Guardian’s Fund. If no claim is made within 30 years, they vanish into the abyss of state reserves. Talk about a twist in your estate story! This happens more often than you’d care to believe.

Safeguarding your children’s well-being: The guardians’ dilemma

The importance of a will shines even brighter when children are on board for this journey. 

What happens to your little explorers if you’re no longer their guide? 

If there’s a surviving parent, regardless of their role in your life’s story, they automatically become the children’s legal guardians

But the journey takes an unexpected turn if there’s no surviving spouse or parent and no will-nominated guardians. Enter the Master of the High Court, casting a new character as guardian for your children, and you are no longer around, having no say in the matter.

However, when you have a will, you may nominate people therein whom you trust to be the guardians of your children. In South Africa, the courts and social workers set high store by the compass reading regarding the guardians of your children as set in your will. 

Having an invalid will can create unnecessary bumps in the road

Contrary to popular belief, the validity of a will isn't solely about its existence. People often think their will is valid, only to discover it's more like a script with plot holes. Factors like age, legibility, witness competency, and independence can render your will invalid.

So, ensure your will is an unblemished map, clear and concise, crafted by professionals, ensuring your final wishes are carried out as intended.

Let your final wishes shine through a Capital Legacy will

Failing to draft a will while you're alive is like sailing uncharted waters without navigation tools – a recipe for disaster in the distribution of your estate. Secure your heirs’ inheritance by drafting a will with Capital Legacy’s expert will consultants. They’ll ensure your map isn’t contradictory and aligns with South African legislation. Your legacy deserves a journey worth remembering, not a path obscured by uncertainty.

Contact us for a free consultation or speak to your financial advisor.

Read Part 1 of our series here.

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