Why should I have a will?

Why should I have a will?

Benjamin Franklin once said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. Preparing for taxes is a generally accepted practice, but preparing for death is usually avoided. This is because discussing mortality is never easy, but preparing for it is an absolute necessity.

We often get asked why a will? The simple answer is to make sure those that are left behind can deal with the administration of your passing easier. It’s highly likely you would like to pass on as little administrative burden as possible, and a will is one way reducing this burden.

Beyond the simple answer, there are extensive reasons you should have a will securely in place, but we’ll simplify the most important ones:

  • Your will protects both your estate and those you leave behind from prying hands and severe complications.
  • It is your right to decide who inherits from your estate. Your will legally binds those you leave behind to distribute your accumulated wealth according to your wishes. This can range from a family heirloom to your current possessions.
  • Your will serves as a basis for how your children will be taken care of. Planning for this is vital to ensure your children are not forced into a position you would not want them to be in.
  • Your will ensures your estate does not incur extra or unnecessary costs.
  • Your will speeds up the process of wrapping up your estate. We have found that if a will is not in place, conflict between family can delay finalising your estate for years.

So, what can happen if you die without a will? Your estate will be distributed to your family according to the rules of ‘interstate succession’. This means the estate will be distributed to either a spouse, a descendant and thereafter any other relative.

In the unlikely event that you do not have a family or relative, the state will take ownership of the assets.

At the heart of it all, death is not an easy discussion, but if your will is in place your family and loved ones can focus on dealing with your passing and not the burden of wrapping up your affairs.

Be certain your will is in place and securely stored and get peace of mind that your family will be taken care of the way you want them to.

By Ian Gregorowski

Email ian@hartzlaw.co.za & book your free Will consultation during National Wills Week 17 to 21 Sept. 2018