Do you have Will Power?

Will Power Infographic Courant

Do you have Will Power?

12 to 16 September 2016 was National Wills Week and so we decided to test what you know about wills and testaments? If you’re anything like the average South African, it might be not a lot. It is estimated that 86% of South Africans have not made plans for when they die.

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning (which also entails drawing up a will) is not for the wealthy only. Wills are essential as they stipulate matters such as:
1. Do you wish to be buried or cremated?
2. Do you have any other last wishes for your remains?
3. Do you wish to be an organ donor?
4. Do you wish to have a Living Will? (A Living Will is sometimes necessary when one wishes to not be kept on life support – should life support be deemed necessary by a certified medical doctor.)

These are all factors for consideration, regardless of age or social status. As people, we tend to differ on opinions, especially with culture and beliefs regarding death. So having a will drawn up protects your interests and values. It gives one a sense of control in that even unto death, your wishes are fulfilled to the very end.

Who needs to have a will?
In South Africa, anyone who is 16 years or older, can have a will drawn up.

Why do I need to have a will?
1. To ensure that the right assets are passed to the right people.
2. To take care of your family and ensure that they are provided for as per your last wishes.
3. To avoid family disputes as there will be clear instructions as to how you’d like your assets to be distributed.

When do I need to have a will?
A good will is drawn up at various stages of one’s life. Your will should change as your life changes. For example, if you had a will drawn up before you had a child, you need to have it revised when you have to make provision for a child in the will.

If also you had drawn up a will when you got married but then got divorced, you also need to draw up a will that will stipulate if your former spouse is entitled to any part of your estate.

What will happen to your assets if you die without a will?
Where a person dies without leaving a valid will, the estate will be divided according to the Intestate Succession Act No. 81 of 1987, which essentially means that the state will pay out your estate to your family.

The estate will, in such circumstances, entrust the surviving spouse or the surviving spouse and children of the deceased and grandchildren (where a child has predeceased the deceased, leaving children).

Where there are no descendants, the parents will inherit and if the parents are deceased, the brothers and sisters will receive the inheritance.

How is this different from what will happen if you die with a will?
When a person dies, leaving assets, the surviving spouse – or if there is no surviving spouse, the nearest relative residing in the district in which the death has taken place – must within 14 days from the date of death, report the estate to the Master of the High Court.

After the estate has been reported, the Master appoints an Executor by issuing a Letter of Executorship (if the deceased’s assets have a gross value of more than R250 000).

The best way to ensure that after your death your assets are distributed accordingly to your wishes and instructions, is to draw up a will.

This gives you the opportunity to appoint an executor to deal with your assets. If you die without a valid will, your family might suffer inconvenience and even severe hardship of having to go to the office of the Master of High Court to claim your estate, which might be time and energy consuming.

How much is it to have a will drawn up?
It varies with many companies and lawyers who deal with estate planning. Some banks do also provide the service, costing R250 – R400 to have it drawn up and again costs the same price to have it redrawn.

With some financial companies, you pay a fixed amount per annum for having the will with them, which allows you to change it at any time during the year. However, we found that with Legacy Capital, an authorized financial services provider, it is free to have a will drawn up for as many times as you like.

They offer other products, however, and while they do not charge for the drawing up of the will, they do charge an executor’s fee at death if you decide to take their Legacy Protection Plan.

Can I draw up a will myself?
Yes, with the internet, it’s now easier than before to draw up your own will. However, there are a few considerations that bear legal implications and so given the complexities of the points above mentioned, it would be best to speak to a professional regarding drawing up your will to ensure no costly mistakes that will pop up after you’ve died to come and haunt your family and cause discomfort at what should be a time of grieving for them.

For more information on estate planning, wills and testaments, please contact

Andrico Fourie, a specialist at Legacy Capital, at 086 199 0099 or send an email to

Alternately, you can find more information at on a variety on matters regarding their product offerings and estate planning.

Information provided by

Pulane Choane/BloemfonteinCourant