We find that many clients do not fully appreciate the importance of having a valid will, and so we’ve highlighted our top 3 reasons for having one below.
1. YOU GET TO CHOOSE WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR ASSETS
You’ve worked hard your entire life for the assets you have today. If you die without a valid will, the rules governing intestate succession will determine how your assets should be distributed. Although these rules may generally be fair, they certainly cannot take into account each individual’s specific and unique needs. You may for example want your children’s inheritance to be split in a particular way or you may want to exclude a particular family member from inheriting. You may even want people outside of your family to benefit from your estate. All of this and more can be achieved by having a valid will drafted and executed so that YOU can have the last say about what happens to YOUR hard-earned assets when you are no longer here.
2. AVOID DELAYS WITH THE ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
Upon death your estate has to be administered by an executor under the supervision of the Master of the High Court. Depending on the estate, this can be a lengthy and complicated process. Having a valid will in place could make this process quicker and more efficient. The will could for example already appoint an executor, which will avoid any delays which may be occasioned by the Master having to appoint one. Delays occasioned by disputes and uncertainties among family members over issues of inheritance can also be avoided by a will that clearly states the last wishes of the deceased as regards who should benefit.
3. SAVE ON TAX
There are tax implications even upon death. With proper estate planning and a valid will there may be measures available whereby you could reduce the overall tax liability of your deceased estate like the creation of a trust in some instances. This will obviously have to be explored on a case by case basis. The point is simply that the more you can save through proper estate planning and having a will, the more will remain available in your estate for your intended beneficiaries.