David Thomson, Senior Legal Adviser for Sanlam Trust, says that leaving a legacy has very little to do with how “rich” a family member is. “Drawing up a will is more about the legacy of love, care and culture you plan to leave behind. Whether you are wealthy or not, you can leave a legacy by ensuring you have a last will and testament.” Here are 7 Non-negotiables for Drafting a Will
- It must be done by a professional or an organisation such as Sanlam Trust
- You must appoint an executor who will be the person in charge of winding up all your affairs. This person is responsible for reporting your death to the High Court, collecting all your assets, closing bank accounts, and opening an estate bank account, among other responsibilities. So it’s important to appoint someone capable.
- Be clear in your mind as to who should get what – from your immediate heirs to charitable organisations
- You may need to nominate a trustee (or trustees) to look after your minor children should you have any
- Two witnesses, older than 14 years, who are of sound mind and not beneficiaries in your will, should initial each page and must sign on the last page in the physical presence of the testator/testatrix (person who makes the will), who must also sign each page of his or her will
- The original signed will must be kept in a safe place as this is the only document that will be accepted by the master of the High Court on your passing
- Some trust companies will keep their clients’ documents in their fireproof vaults for a small annual fee. Ensure your nearest family or your financial planner knows where the original document is kept.
By David Thomson