Having a will in place allows you to decide who inherits what from your estate upon your death. You also get to nominate the executor, which is the person responsible to wind up your estate.

What constitutes a valid will?

  1. Only a person over the age of 16 and of sound mind can execute a will
  2. All pages of the will need to be signed by the testator and/or testatrix and 2 competent witnesses (persons over the age of 14). If you are unable to sign your own will, you can have someone else sign on your behalf in the presence of a Commissioner of Oaths
  3. Beneficiaries of the will cannot sign as witnesses
  4. the will needs to be typed or handwritten.

Should your will be considered invalid, your estate will be distributed according to the Intestate succession Act which distributes to your closest blood relatives.

What can one consider when drafting a will?

  1. Provisions for spouse and children
  2. Who will look after your children if they are still minors?
  3. Estate duty implications
  4. Who will handle the finances after you die?
  5. Who will be responsible for winding up the estate (executor)?
  6. Have I done full estate planning, listing all my assets and liabilities?
  7. How will the inheritances for minors be handled?

It is important that you keep the original will kept in a safe place known by a trusted person such as your lawyer and ensure that whenever your life situation changes you make the necessary changes to your will.