“I often quote an African proverb that says: “The world is not ours, the earth is not ours, it’s a treasure we hold in trust for future generations” And I often hope we will be worthy of that trust” _ Kofi Annan
The quote above captures the essence of not only the nature of life but also the importance of thinking about the future. One of the key indicators of thinking about the future is realizing the importance of planning. A Will is a good way to ensure that the assets you are accumulating in your lifetime are protected for future generations.
In this article, we are going to look at the concept of a Will and the benefits thereof. We will also take you through the process, broadly, of what will happen once you pass on.
In a number of previously disadvantaged communities, specifically in townships, we often hear about or even experience the situation where a family is tossed into a battle because the house is deemed to be a “family house”. However according to the records of the municipality, the utility account is still supposed to be paid by the deceased who is obviously unable to. Alternatively, we also find situations where the children of the deceased are left homeless because creditors have sold their home after the death of the parent who was paying the bond on the home. The list of situations of this nature is endless and far too many to count.
At Risenga Attorneys we are of the view that a well-planned future can help avoid the abovementioned situations. We are also of the view that a Will can certainly prepare for such eventualities.
However what is a Will? A Will is essentially a written document that is created by a person (the Testator if one is male or Testatrix if one is female) in which she appoints an executor to administer her estate according to her wishes once the Testarix has passed on. This document has to comply with some rules before it can be regarded as valid. Therefore, it is important to have someone who understands the relevant laws, like an attorney from Risenga Attorneys, to draft your Will on your behalf.
Now that we have executed your Will what will happen? The person you have appointed as an executor of your estate will have the authority to administer your estate according to your wishes once you have passed on. Therefore, it is important to keep your original Will in a safe place. The executor will then have to approach the Master of the High Court of South Africa and report your estate.
Upon reporting your estate, she will be given a letter of Authority if the value of your estate is less than R 250 000.00, or she will be given a letter of Executorship, if the value of your estate is more than R 250 000.00. With this letter of Executorship or Authority she will be able to administer the estate according to your Will. The administering of your estate also includes paying all debts that are due at the time of death.
Should you die with a valid Will then you will be regarded to have died “Testate”. This means that your estate will be administered in accordance to your Will. Therefore, you will have control on what happens to your assets that you have worked so hard to accumulate.
However, if you die without having a Will executed, this will mean that you would have died “Intestate”. Therefore your estate will be administered in terms of the Intestate Succession Act. This law provides for specific persons to be appointed as executors, sometimes persons whom you would have not ordinarily trusted to carry out such a major task. The law further determines who will benefit from your estate. Unfortunately, sometimes the consequences of this are dire. We are often confronted with the situation where families are drawn into conflict with each other because sometimes an equal division of the estate does not result in an equitable distribution. At Risenga Attorneys we believe that nobody, rich or poor, should die intestate.
As you can already imagine it is important to have professionals, such as those from Risenga Attorneys to assist you in drafting a Will that will clearly convey your wishes.
We are of the view that any responsible custodian of the earth for future generations must ensure that they have a Will drafted.
Feel free to contact us for a consultation so that we can provide you with a clear map on how to approach the planning of your estate.
Contact us on:
Call us: 065 933 7796
Visit us: Normed Building, Office 115, 260 Burger Street, Pretoria North.
Disclaimer: The content of this article and any other content posted on this website cannot be used as authority in a Court of Law.