WHERE THERE’S A WILL THERE IS A WAY

  • Having tied the knot during the warming weather of spring, few newly-weds give even a passing thought to Wills and testaments. This is understandable as few couples contemplate death and mortality at what is at its heart, the ultimate celebration of life. However, a Will should be written - or updated - after a major life event, such as marriage, to ensure that your belongings are distributed to your loved ones after your passing.

     

    Some people feel that a Will is something that only the elderly and terminally ill need to worry about. Others feel that their children are mature enough to handle their estate after their passing and to distribute assets and liabilities amongst themselves. Still others feel that a Will may create a rift in the family. (Information Credit – http://setonsmithlaw.co.za)

     

    However, if you don’t draw up a Will, the law provides for how your belongings will be distributed after your death, which may be very different from your wishes.

     

    Many married couples opt to sign a Joint Will. A Joint Will is in effect, two wills contained in a single document. Sometimes the testators (the persons who make a Will) will also “mass” their estates. “Massing” happens when the couples’ estates of the are merged into one estate with the intention that that their estates are divided and distributed as a whole.

     

    Some people also wish to include instructions for when they are unable to communicate their wishes, such as when they are in a permanent vegetative state. So-called “living wills” need to be contained in a separate document, especially as a Will only comes into force after death.

     

    There are a number of online and DIY will kits available. However, there are certain formalities that need to be observed for a Will to be valid. If a Will is not valid, its provisions will not be applied and your belongings will be distributed in terms of the law of intestate (without a will) succession.

     

    It is important that the service of a suitably qualified professional, such as an attorney, is used to draw up a will. An attorney will not only ensure that your Will be valid, but that your true intentions are clearly reflected, which will greatly lessen the possibility of problems and potential arguments amongst your heirs after your passing.

     

    An attorney will also be able to advise you on a Will that is appropriate for you and the needs of your family and loved ones and in the case of a married couple, whether a joint Will is best suited for their needs and desires.