Many South Africans are wondering if executing a will during lockdown is possible and, if so, how can it be done while meeting all the legal requirements?
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many South Africans to make sure their estate is in order and part of this is executing a will or making sure their existing will is up to date with their instructions.
According the Wills Act, a will must be signed by you, two witnesses in your presence and the testator.
However, with social distancing measures in place, it has made executing a will during lockdown almost impossible. For this reason, the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa has submitted an urgent plea to the department of justice to consider having the drafting and execution of a will declared an essential service.
According to The Wills Act, the following are requirements when executing a will in South Africa:
Wills are excluded from the provisions made by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act and therefore, an electronic signature cannot be used to execute a will.
So, many are left wondering how they can go about executing a will during lockdown when electronic signatures are not acceptable.
Your will is the single most important aspect of estate planning and is something that every individual should have set up and updated when necessary.
If you are one of the estimated 80% of South Africans who do not yet have a valid will, here are a few ways that you can get your will executed during the lockdown in South Africa:
It’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered many people across the globe to finalise their estate.
Having a valid will is arguably the single most important part of estate planning and any person with assets and potential beneficiaries should have one in place.
For professional, legal assistance with your estate planning, including the drafting and executing a will during lockdown, please contact our attorneys.
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