It’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to making a will. None of us wants to dwell on our mortality, but of course the reality is that it’s a not a case of planning for “If I die”. We have to plan for “When I die”.

So no matter your age, if you haven’t yet got around to making your will, delay no longer. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to avoid dying “intestate” (without a valid will).

The risk of dying without a will means –

  1. You forfeit control over how and by whom your deceased estate is wound up.
  2. You forfeit the opportunity to nominate a suitable guardian for your minor children, and any money due to them could end up in the Guardian’s Fund.
  3. You forfeit your control over how your worldly goods are distributed. If you die without a will, our law prescribes who inherits what.
  4. You forfeit the right to elect to have your estate administered in accordance with Islamic Shari’ah law. Unless you have a will which specifies that you elect Islamic Shari’ah law be applied to your estate, your estate will be wound up in accordance with South African intestate law.

It’s recommended that you appoint a professional to draft your will and also advise on related issues, such as protection of minors, tax planning, liquidity, safe custody for your will, etc.

Once you’ve made your will, review it at least annually. Take particular account of life events like marriage, divorce, deaths, births, retirement etc.