Once your Will has been drafted, what do you do? Here are several things to consider.

  1. Signing your Last Will and Testament

Once you’ve read through your Will and you’re happy with it, the next step is to sign it. Before you pick up the closest pen and merely scrawl your mark, be aware of the following requirements.

  • You must sign your Will in front of 2 witnesses. You can’t sign it, then only later ask some witnesses to sign. After all, the whole purpose of being a witness is to witness! Their presence acknowledges that you did indeed sign your Will and your signature wasn’t fraudulent, you knew what you were doing and were not intoxicated at the time, and you weren’t placed under duress or pressurised by someone to sign it against your volition.
  • The following people cannot sign as a witness:
    • Anyone named as your beneficiary
    • Anyone named as your heir
    • Anyone who is married to a person named as your beneficiary or heir
    • Anyone under the age of fourteen years
    • Anyone who is not of sound mind or is incompetent to give evidence in court
    Sign every page of your Will. While your witnesses are only required to sign the last page, it is recommended that they sign every page nonetheless. Make sure that you sign the last page just under the last of the wording, without leaving too much of a space between the wording of your Will and your signature.
    1. Safe-keeping

    Once your Will is signed, what do you do with it? There are institutions that offer a Will storage service, generally for a fee. But you’re don’t have to use them. The main thing is to ensure that your original Will is stored in a safe place and is easily accessible by your loved ones. It’s also suggested that you: Read More.....

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There are only two ways that you can die. With a Will. Or without a Will. It’s entirely your choice. But here are five reasons why we would strongly recommend that you die with a Will.

  1. You can appoint your executor.

When you die, somebody has to be appointed as an executor to organise all the paperwork, and generally distribute and administer your estate. Preferably someone disciplined, organised, honest, reliable and trustworthy. By drafting your Will you can identify and appoint an executor of your choice. Read More.....

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A common dilemma facing employers is how to address the issue of a paying a bonus or thirteenth cheque. The best solution is to address this matter head-on, in the form of your employment contracts and related company employment documents. When you draft your employee bonus procedures, you may want to consider some of these suggestions.

  • Do you want to include a thirteenth cheque in your policy? A thirteenth cheque is usually (but not always) a double-salary, usually (but not always) paid in December – and South African labour law does not obligate an employer to pay 13th cheques.  If you’d like to consider alternatives to the traditional 13th cheque, you could also look at:
    • Including a 13th cheque as part of the employee’s annual salary package, instead of an additional payment on top of their package. The employee would then get slightly less in their monthly pay-cheque, but would get the advantage of receiving an extra “bonus” once a year. It’s a little like a forced savings scheme. It goes without saying that you would need to administer this type of concept transparently and with the full, informed consent of your employees. And be very careful if you want to raise this initiative with existing staff. They will probably be suspicious about and resistant to any radical change in the structure of their salaries, and you can’t unilaterally impose these changes on them.
    • Instead of paying the thirteenth cheque in December, which can dent the cash-flow somewhat, you can agree on another month, eg. the employee’s birthday month, or the anniversary of their appointment date.
    • Open a separate savings account where you can transfer money each month, processed at the same time as the payroll. This way you can save the funds needed to pay staff their 13th cheques without suffering a cash-flow knock.
    • Do you want to include provision for an employee bonus scheme? A staff bonus – and whether it’s paid, the amount paid, who it’s paid to – is usually (but not always) dependent on certain criteria being met. Here are some considerations:
      • Is payment of the bonus conditional on the employee meeting predetermined performance criteria? If so, does the employee know what these criteria are? And how will you measure whether or not they’ve been achieved?
      • How is the bonus calculated? Is it unique to each employee? Linked to an employee’s sales targets? Or dependent on the company making a profit?
      • Perhaps you can allocate an amount into an annual bonus pool. This can be split amongst the staff, either equally, in proportion to their salaries, or in proportion to their performance (objectively measured).
      • Think about how much discretion managers will have in awarding bonuses to their subordinates. And what performance tools will the manager use to objectively and fairly decide who gets what?
      • Paying staff bonuses can have a noticeable effect on cash-flow. You could think about easing this impact by paying the bonus in monthly instalments, or payable in two or three instalments at specified dates during the forthcoming year.

      You should also include an overriding clause noting that the payment of bonuses is entirely discretionary. And if the company does decide to pay a bonus, the amount paid would also depend on the company’s profits and financial situation at the time of the payment. Read More.....

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