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Why is it important to have a will in place before I die?

A will gives you the control and assurance that the people you love the most will be taken care of when you are no longer there. Without an updated will, your family could be left with financial and legal challenges and disputes that could last for years – as in the case of Paul's family in the example below. Dying intestate (without a valid will) means you have no say over who winds up your estate or what they charge.

You can save your family this undue stress by being strategic about your estate planning, and seeking the assistance of a professional estate practitioner or financial planner

Is it necessary to review your will regularly? 

As you progress through life, your needs and those of your family may change. Life-altering events often have an impact on the content of your will, so you should review it regularly (at least every two years) to allow for any changes in your family or financial position. Examples of changing circumstances that could affect your will include: the death of a spouse, the birth of a child or grandchild, divorce, a money inheritance, a property, or business acquisition, and so forth. A well-drafted and up-to-date will cannot easily be disputed and could prevent many sticky and unpleasant situations for your heirs.

Do I need to nominate an executor?

The nomination of an executor is a big responsibility. An executor administers your estate affairs and executes your final wishes according to the stipulations of your will. It is best to choose someone yourself, who you trust to ensure that all the terms of your will are carried out. You may nominate your spouse, but this is in most cases not a good idea, since your spouse could be emotionally shattered and not ready to make important financial decisions. Should your spouse not know what to do under these circumstances, they won’t know where to get the best advice or service. Your spouse may be exposed to someone serving their own interests, in which case the estate's chequebook might end up in the wrong hands. Generally, the Master of the High Court, who appoints the executor or executrix, will insist on a legal professional or trust company being appointed.

Approach a reputable company like Sanlam Trust who specialise in wills, estates, and trusts:

  • You will enjoy the benefits of specialised experience and knowledge
  • Your estate will be handled deftly and professionally and you are ensured of objective advice
  • Estate funds will be invested safely and earn a good interest rate
  • You will enjoy complete security through internal checks and other control measures
Click here for more information about documenting your last wishes through drafting a will


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