A will ensures that your final wishes are met when you pass on. It means that your assets go to your designated beneficiaries.
Not having a will can cause serious conflict between family members, and the unfortunate reality is that those closest to you are often the ones left behind with nothing to inherit.
A recent study don by Sanlam shows that 75% of black South Africans do not have a will. But what exactly does this mean for the family?
Under the current legislation, the only ones eligible to claim what belonged to deceased (in absence of a will) are blood relatives. This includes biological children, siblings, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
Exceptions to this rule are the deceased’s spouse and legally adopted children.
However, a recent ruling made by the Constitutional Court of South Africa determined that the current definition of spouse as stipulated in the Intestate Succession Act and Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act is unconstitutional. According to the Court, this is because is excludes life partners in long term relationships.
The Court has ordered Parliament to amend these laws within a 12-month period to provide life partners of deceased individuals equal right to claim their estate or part of it.
The biggest hurdle faced by black South Africans is access to resources. This means that there is little understanding about estate planning and why it’s important.
On the other hand, there are individuals who know that drafting a will is important, but procrastination prevents them from taking the necessary action to put a will in place.
Furthermore, many people are under the impression that they need to have a certain amount of assets to justify having a will or engaging in other estate or financial planning activities. What’s important to remember is that everyone has an asset of some sort, and a will protects those assets from falling into the wrong or unrightful hands.
Having a will is one of the most important parts of estate planning as it ensures that your estate is distributed according to your wishes.
Without a will, there is always the risk of family conflict around the topic of rightful inheritance, and this is the last thing that anyone wants.
Let our attorneys help you set up a will so that your beneficiaries are properly cared for when you are gone.
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