Need a will? There is a way, online

Get a free will this National Wills Week

Your loved ones are at risk of getting little to nothing if you die without a will.

Several law firms are offering to draft your will free of charge until September 20 2019. Visit the Law Society’s website on www.lssa.o.za for a list of participating lawyers. Picture: 123RF/WELCOMIA
Several law firms are offering to draft your will free of charge until September 20 2019. Visit the Law Society’s website on www.lssa.o.za for a list of participating lawyers. Picture: 123RF/WELCOMIA

Where there is no will, there is no way for your assets to be distributed the way you want them to when you are no longer here. 

In fact, your loved ones are at risk of getting little to nothing, as without a will your deceased estate will, in terms of the Intestate Succession Act (Act 81 of 1987), be distributed according to a set formula to your surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings and other family. 

This means that some of your assets meant for your loved ones will now go to someone you don’t know just because they are somehow related to you.

A will is an important part of your holistic financial planning, yet almost 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place, Sizwe Nxedlana, CEO at FNB Wealth and Investments, laments. 

The Law Society of South Africa says often times a will is the last thing on your mind as you see drafting one as a tedious process. 

However, financial services providers are making it easier for you to draft your will through quick and inexpensive online solutions. 

FNB recently launched Wills Online which allows you, as an existing customer with an online banking profile, to draw up your will at no additional cost. A step-by-step guide shows you how to nominate dependants, guardians for minors and the executor of the estate.

FNB also keeps your original will in safe custody at no extra cost, but you will still be required to print and sign it to make it valid, Johan Strydom, growth head at FNB Wealth and Investments explains. 

A new online platform, Quickwill, also offers the service for a fee of R750. You can sign up online via web or mobile, fill in your information, pay and download your documents. Once you have printed and signed your will, you can then courier it back to Quickwill for safekeeping.

“Users can easily create their will from the convenience of their home, fully aware of the price upfront and with real-time, online access to a team of professionals who offers support,” Stella Pickard, CEO and founder of Quickwill says. 

If your affairs are relatively simple, completing an online will is better than having no will at all. 

However, it is wise to have a financial planner guide you on what will happen to all your investments and assets, such as property in the event of your death. This is especially important if you have dependants for whom you need to provide and have a retirement fund and/or life cover with savings that may be used for this. If you have minor children or dependants with special needs you should get advice on how to ensure that their money is managed properly, and if you are divorced or remarried or own a business you may also need specific advice.

“A practicing attorney is qualified and registered with the law society and has the necessary knowledge and expertise to give you the right advice and make sure your will is valid,” Mvuzo Notyesi, president of the Law Society of South Africa says.

This week is National Wills Week and several law firms are offering to draft your will free of charge until September 20 2019. Visit the Law Society’s website on www.lssa.o.za for a list of participating lawyers. 

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