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Frequently asked questions

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WHICH TYPE OF WILL IS BEST IF I OWN FIXED PROPERTY IN OTHER COUNTRIES?

Generally, a foreign Will is advisable if you own immovable property overseas. Fixed property will need to be transferred according to the laws of the said country so you will need to ensure that all formalities are complied with. Also, some countries only recognise a locally drafted will when it comes to disposing of property and your South African Will may, therefore, be disregarded.

DOES MY SA WILL COVER MY UK ASSETS?

Yes, a Worldwide Will works very well if you live in South Africa but have assets in a country with similar heirship laws to our own, such as the UK. Like South Africa, the UK has freedom of testation.

WHAT IS FREEDOM OF TESTATION?

Freedom of testation is a law that allows a Testator (or Testatrix) to bequeath assets in a Will as they please. South Africa observes freedom of testation, so a person can leave his or her assets to whoever they like.

WHAT IS FORCED HEIRSHIP?

A set of rules which restrict the Testator’s freedom to distribute his/her Estate in order to protect certain heirs, such as a spouse or child. In most countries where this system applies, a portion of the Estate is subject to the laws of forced heirship while the balance is left to the Testator’s discretion.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE EUROPEAN SUCCESSION REGULATION NO. 650/2012 (BRUSSELS IV) CONCERNING ESTATES?

Many countries in Europe, such as France, Spain, Germany, and Italy restrict testamentary freedom through their forced heirship rules, which can potentially provide statutory or fixed shares to certain family members.