Last Will and Testament


Last Will and Testament

What they are, and why you need one


Most of us don’t know a lot about the legal side of wills – after all, death and the subsequent disbursement of one’s assets is not something many people like to think about. However, not having a will can create stress and tension for those most important to us, at a time when they’re least equipped to cope with difficult matters. Having a will in place can minimise conflict and speculation, and spare your loved ones the emotional trauma of trying to work out what you would have wanted.


If a person passes away without having a will in place, the rules of Intestate Succession will be applied, meaning that their estate will be divided between the spouse (if any) and / or descendants according to a set formula. This can be avoided by having a will in place.


A carefully structured and written Last Will and Testament can meet many goals, including reducing estate duty liability, providing for dependents, and achieving the efficient administration of his or her deceased estate. Below, we’ve outlined some of the basics of drawing up a last will and testament, along with a few tips to get the process started, if you don’t already have a legal will.


A critical step in drawing up a will is the nomination of an executor, who will handle the administration or your estate at the time of your death. The executor will need to locate your will and interpret it, identify and locate all beneficiaries named in the will, as well as compile documents and information required by the Master of the High Court.


Beneficiaries and legatees should be clearly nominated in your will. This will avoid any confusion regarding the distribution of the estate. The age of the beneficiaries should also be considered. Should the beneficiaries or legatees still be minors, the Testator needs to establish whether they would want a Testamentary Trust to be created. If no Testamentary Trust is created, the assets will be invested in a Guardianship Fund, which is administered by the Master of the High Court.


It is also very important to nominate a guardian for your minor children. The guardian will take over the parental responsibilities.


Certain prerequisites apply, such as having each page of your will signed by yourself, along with the signatures of two witnesses (who are not beneficiaries of your will); as well as a clear date, to ensure that there is no confusion, should more than one version of a will exist.


There are many subtleties and complexities inherent in creating a comprehensive will, and by getting this right, you will ensure that your family are adequately taken care of and your estate is handled according to your wishes, providing valuable peace of mind.


Bosch Marais & Associates will assist you to carefully structure your last will and testament, ensuring that a deceased estate is wound up in the shortest possible time.  Let us guide you through what can be a complex process, to ensure your loved ones are provided for according to your wishes, unnecessary taxation is avoided and your estate is efficiently administered.