It is a well-known refrain that one has to ensure that you have a Last Will and Testament and that is up to date.
The main reason is simple- it ensures that your wishes at death are clear and adhered to. Passing away without it will result in your estate, big or small, being administered and wound up in terms of certain prescribed and set “rules” s laid out in the Intestate Succession act, Act 81 of 1987. This act clarifies and governs the manner in which one’s assets would dissolve at death, or in other words, it determines how and to whom your assets are to be left.
The Intestate Succession Act ensures that order is given to the estate of a deceased person dying without a will. While the act thus fills the void so to speak, if one does not have a will, it can also cause many a headache for family, beneficiaries as well as the person tasked to administer the estate. Several practical problems come to mind, the first of which is that the lack of a will, that would or should have appointed an executor to administer the estate, might now cause a delay in that the Master of the High Court must first appoint such a person on the nomination of the intestate beneficiaries. In nominating such a person, time might be wasted if consensus between beneficiaries cannot be reached.
A second aspect that sometimes causes frustration and headaches is the fact that, should the estate have a value in excess of R125000.00, then the children of the beneficiary also inherits along with the surviving spouse, who is entitled to the larger of either a “child’s share” or a minimum amount as decreed by the Minister (currently R125000.00). In some families this might not be an issue, but in others it may lead to disharmony and at the very least cause frustration and anxiety as the surviving spouse cannot unilaterally deal with estate assets as he or she might have thought previously.
It is crucial for any person owning assets to draft a will to ensure that those assets are properly dealt with.To thus ensure that your own unique and personal wishes are acted upon at death and to minimize potential problems as mentioned above it is wise to make the time to have a will drawn up that is properly drafted and one that is relevant to your current needs and wishes.