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Draw up a will to cover your family's interests

By unknown | Apr 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Isaac Moledi

Isaac Moledi

There is nothing more painful than not having control over what happens to your estate.

Have you decided who will attend to your affairs when you pass on?

Have you ensured that the special people in your life - your loved ones - will receive what you want them to, in the form and proportions that you wish?

Have you directed how the interests of your children, a physically or mentally disabled relative you hold dear or any other person incapable of looking after his or her own affairs, are to be protected by benefiting from your estate if you die?

To avoid delays and unnecessary costs and fighting in the finalisation and distribution of your estate, make a will.

Irrespective of your age and health, it is imperative that you put a legally-sound will in place right now so that you are able to control what happens to your property and assets after your death.

Kim Yochum, head of SSG Credit Management, a division of Specialised Services Group (SSG), says many South Africans neglect to put in place a will that is up to date and valid to protect their loved ones' interests after they die. The tragic result is that their dying wishes are not carried out, meaning a lifetime of labour fails to benefit family and friends as was intended.

Yochum, whose investigation group also provides a wide spectrum of services structured around community, business and asset guarding, points to the case of an elderly woman who bequeathed money to her loyal and trusted gardener when she died.

Since she had left a rock-solid will in place, the trustees responsible for the will were empowered to trace the man and ensure that the proceeds of the estate reached him. If his former employer had died intestate, her money would most probably never have reached the intended beneficiary.

Yochum says there are at least four major reasons to ensure that you have a solid will in place:

l Through a will, you are able to direct who will receive your property, the amount that each should receive, and whether a trust needs to be created to house any of your assets.

If you have no will, the state will make these decisions for you. In addition, family squabbles might arise as your loved ones try to determine how you would want your assets divided among them.

The process of distributing your assets might also take longer than it would with a will in place, leaving loved ones stranded without finances for months.

l You will be able to appoint someone you know and trust as executor of your estate. If you leave no will, the state will choose an executor for you, perhaps appointing someone who will not act according to your intentions.

l You will be able to leave special instructions, including appointing guardians for your children and making provisions for loved ones that are in ill-health.

l A will allows you to take steps to reduce the taxes on your estate so that your loved ones benefit more than the taxman.


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