Thy will be done … preferably by a suitable professional


The phrase “estate” is a medical, authorized time period, too simply confused with the opposite which means of the phrase, which refers to residential or industrial property, as in “wine estate” or “estate agent”. I like the Afrikaans phrase for property: “boedel”. To me that’s way more down-to-earth and one way or the other descriptive.

Everyone has an property, even the homeless man in a makeshift tent beneath the bridge. It’s simply the dimensions and complexity that differs.

When does your property turn into essential? There are a number of cases when it must be assessed and, if obligatory, liquidated or damaged up. The fundamental ones are: getting married; getting divorced; declaring insolvency; and dying.

The first three cases might be avoidable however the final one isn’t. Estate planning is the act of deciding what occurs to your belongings in your dying, and its most important factor is your will.

According to the newest Sanlam examine by Brand Atlas, 44% of economically lively South Africans both amended or created wills within the final 18 months. Covid-19 has clearly introduced dying nearer to us. However, 54% of South Africans nonetheless do not need a legitimate will. Why?

Moremadi Mabule, head of wills operations at Sanlam Trust, says: “The prevalence of South Africans without wills is concerning. What has been positive is that we’re seeing a psychological shift, with different demographics starting to invest in estate planning. It’s no longer seen as reserved for the rich.”

In the 18 months, 35% of individuals up to date their wills whereas 9% drafted their will for the primary time. Nearly half of the primary timers got here from decrease earnings teams, suggesting that consciousness about what you permit behind is starting to develop.

“Covid-19 is not the only reason. We have seen a number of other factors influencing why South Africans do and do not have wills,” Mabule says.

The greatest causes for not having a will seem to be apathy and the idea that the dimensions of the property doesn’t warrant it. Of the respondents polled, 90% mentioned that they both didn’t imagine that they had sufficient belongings to warrant having a will or just hadn’t received round to it. “I always thought it was a lot of admin to draft and I didn’t have the kind of money that warranted that kind of effort,” one respondent mentioned.

“I think what scares people off drafting their wills is this idea that it may be very complicated. It really isn’t – most people’s wills are simple,” Mabule says.

However, Gerhardt Meyer, a Certified Financial Planner and head of technical help at PSG Wealth warns towards doing it your self. With on-line options popping up, promising to spew out an property plan in minutes, you could be tempted to go the DIY route. But this may occasionally finally value you greater than you suppose.

First of all, authorized necessities matter. “For a will to be valid, the testator (who the will belongs to) must be over the age of 16 years, and the will must be in writing (typed or handwritten), with each page, including the last page, signed by the testator and two competent witnesses who are 14 years of age or older,” Meyer says. He additionally factors out that anybody who stands to inherit below that will (and his or her partner) doesn’t qualify to be a witness.

Almost as dangerous as not having a will is one during which the wording is ambiguous. “A badly drafted will where the wording used is unclear or ambiguous often leads to disputes, court actions, unnecessary delays, and additional costs to the estate. This can easily be avoided if you enlist the help of a professional to draft your will, ensuring that the language used clearly expresses your wishes, and the formalities are strictly adhered to,” Meyer says.

Of course, property planning can get massively difficult and expensive the extra marriages (and ensuing dependants) and the extra belongings you will have, particularly if a few of these belongings are held offshore.

“Assets held in foreign jurisdictions can have various tax and other cost implications that need to be catered for. Assets in the UK or the US are subject to inheritance tax or Federal Estate Tax under the legal concept of situs. In the UK this results in tax at a rate of 40% for assets over the value of £325 000 and in the US tax at a rate of up to 40% for assets in excess of $60 000. In the case of US situs assets of more than $60 000, there will be an obligation to report the assets to the Internal Revenue Service. The cost of making the necessary filings through a US lawyer is approximately $5 000,” Meyer says. Which additional reinforces the necessity for a professional.

Wills Week

Next week, from Monday September 13 to Friday September 17, is National Wills Week, an annual initiative by the Law Society of South Africa. If you will have a comparatively easy property, regulation practices and fiduciary companies collaborating in Wills Week will draw up your will freed from cost. Go to the Law Society web site ( for lists of collaborating attorneys within the 9 provinces.

*For extra on wills and estates, learn the September 2021 subject of our information-packed IOL MONEY month-to-month digital journal.


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