There are two ways of dying:
- with a Will; or
- without a Will.
Here are some reasons why we would strongly recommend that you die with a Will.
- You get to choose your heirs.
Drafting a Will is the best way of ensuring that your possessions get given to the people of your choice. If you die without a Will your possessions are distributed according to the law of intestate succession. People who you don’t particularly like may land up inheriting (like your long-lost drug-addict sister), or the people you do want to inherit may land up getting nothing (like your long-suffering girlfriend).
- Look after your minor children’s interests.
If you have minor children and you die without a Will, your children’s share of your estate will be invested in the state-run Guardian’s Fund, earning 2% per year, until your children reach 18 years. This is not what most parents would consider a very appealing option. By drafting a Will you get to choose what happens to your children’s portion of your estate, including whether their money gets invested in a testamentary trust until they reach a certain age.
- You get to appoint your executor.
When you die, somebody has to step in and wind up your estate (known as the executor). Preferably someone organised, methodical, honest and trustworthy. When you draft your Will you get to identify and appoint this person.
- You can name your children’s guardian.
Who will look after your children if you die while they’re still young? What if their other parent is predeceased, or both parents die in the same calamity? By naming your children’s guardian/s in your Will you can save your family the heartache of potentially squabbling over who will care for the kids.
- Your mortal remains
Burial or cremation? Believe it or not this can cause strife if the family’s divided over what to do with your mortal remains. By specifying your choice in a Will you remove the need for them to make this potentially conflict-ridden decision.
So bottom line: For the sake of your loved ones, draft your Will.
Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.