Savage Jooste & Adams proudly supported national Mandela Day, by sponsoring boerewors rolls and gift packets and volunteering at the POPUP (People Upliftment Programme) Centre in Salvokop Pretoria, on Friday 15 July 2016. This project benefited nearly 250 people of the surrounding communities.
* The importance of having a will cannot be stressed enough.
* Many people underestimate the importance of having a will and human nature is such that one does not easily think about one’s own mortality.
* It is believed that the majority of the South African population(approximately 85%) do not have a will.
* The fact is that we are all mortals and must, therefore, consider and provide for our family when we are no longer there.
* The function of a will is to give effect to the last wishes of the testator/ testatrix and to ensure upon death that the assets whether movable or immovable are distributed in accordance with his/her wishes.
* The testator’s/testatrix’s wishes are obviously subject to the marital regime applicable to his/her marriage. More specifically if a testator/testatrix was married in community of property then he/she is only at liberty to make his/her bequests in terms of his/her half share of the joint estate.
* Where a person passes away without leaving a will, then the deceased estate will be administered in terms of Intestate Succession.
* The effect of this is that the deceased’s estate may not be distributed in terms of his wishes.
* It is therefore of utmost importance to leave a will to ensure that the deceased’s last wishes can be carried out and provision is made for any special requests of particular items. These may include jewellery, motor vehicles, firearms, immovable properties,cash and the like.
* In a will, it is also important to make provision for the appointment of a guardian for minor children and possibly also setting up a trust for purposes of managing a minor child’s inheritance.
* Very often one only considers drawing up a will when one is faced with an illness or life-threatening disease.
* This is not the ideal time to draw up a will as one ‘s thoughts may be clouded by the illness and the fears related thereto.
* It is, therefore, advisable to draw up a will when one is in good health and can think clearly about one’s wishes and special requests.
* The existence of a will, will also make the administration of the deceased estate much easier.
* It is advisable to make provision for the appointment of an executor in one’s will.
* This can be any person of one’s choice such as a family member, friend , attorney etc. Should a family member or friend be appointed and should they so wish, they can then appoint an attorney by way of a power of attorney to attend to the administration of the deceased estate.
* The function of the executor is to administer the deceased estate.
* There is a set procedure to be followed when administering a deceased estate.
* This includes reporting the estate to the Master, advertising for claims against the estate in terms of Sec 29 of The Administration of Estates Act, closing bank accounts and opening an estate late bank account, liquidating the assets where necessary, drawing and submitting a liquidation and distribution account to the Master, advertising the account once the Master has approved same and then seeing to the distribution to the heirs.
* The process is lengthy and can be overwhelming for an heir who not only has to deal with the grief of having lost a loved one but also has to ensure compliance with regards to the reporting and administration of the deceased’s estate.
* There are specific requirements for a will to be acceptable to the Master of the High Court.
* The Master will accept the deceased’s last will and testament as long as it complies with the requirements of a valid will.
* Inter alia, a will needs to comply with the following: It needs to be freely attested to, in other words not under duress.
It needs to be originally signed and witnessed by two witnesses on each page and all must be present at the time of signature.
The witnesses should not be any persons who are nominated as heirs in the will. The Master will not accept a copy of the will, he requires the original. If the original is lost or missing , it may result in a court application being brought to declare a signed copy to be the deceased’s last will and testament. The safekeeping of the will is therefore also of utmost importance.
* If the will is drawn up by an attorney, such attorney will in all probability have a registry for the safekeeping of such will.
* It is then important to advise family members where the will is kept for purposes of accessing same when it becomes necessary.
* Very often it is only when one is faced with a life-changing situation that one realises the importance of having a will and then one tries to put together a will under circumstances that are not ideal.
* Emotions and fears may take over any logical thinking and the will that is drawn up then may not reflect the true wishes of the testator/testatrix.
* Where a will is drawn up under such circumstances, such will may even be contested by way of litigation on the allegation that the will was drawn up whilst the testator/testatrix was not of sound mind. Needless to say such litigation may be lengthy and costly and will also delay the finalisation of the administration of the deceased estate which is not advisable when the family is trying to come to terms with the death of a loved one.
– Tina Kartoudes