By having a valid will drafted, you can ensure that your personal property and possessions are divided according to your wishes. There are several different types of wills, however, the four most common wills are: simple wills, testamentary trust wills, joint wills and living wills.
These are often used when all that is needed is mere direction as to how to distribute simple assets from the estate to the beneficiaries. As long as the nature of the assets is uncomplicated, a simple will is more than likely good
enough to do the job.
Testamentary Trust Wills
This will differs as it includes provisions that place a portion of your estate into a trust. Based on the terms of the testamentary trust, your assets are then distributed to your beneficiaries through a trustee who controls those assets.
These are often used by spouses who intend to leave their property to one another. The surviving testator will inherit everything from the deceased spouse’s estate. When the surviving testator passes away, the remaining estate will be distributed to the couples chosen beneficiaries.
The purpose of this will is entirely different to the aforementioned wills. The purpose of this will is to provide detailed instructions about the type of medical treatment or life-saving measures you want to be used should you become unable to communicate those wishes for yourself.
Requirements for a will to be valid
In order for any Will to be valid and accepted by the Master of the High Court, it has to comply with the requirements set out in Section 2 of the Wills Act 7 of 1953. The requirements are as follows:
1-The person must be over the age of 16 years.
2-The will must be in writing.
3-Each page of the will must be signed by the testator and two competent witnesses.
Your will must also include your full name and ID number, details of your assets, names of your beneficiaries, how you wish to distribute your assets, and the name of the executor. Your executor can be a lawyer, financial advisor or even a trusted friend. However, your executor cannot be a beneficiary. Your executor is paid a fee which you can specify in your will – this fee may not be more than 3.5% of
your total assets.
Whilst you can draw up a will yourself without expert help, this is only advisable if
your financial affairs are straightforward. If you have an extensive property, investment profile, have children under the age of 18 or special needs dependents, you should get a professional who is experienced in drafting complex wills to draw up your will.
Without a valid will, your assets are distributed according to the laws of intestate succession, which might leave your loved ones without access to the funds for months or even years.
Remember, a valid will means your loved ones have one less thing to worry about