You’d be surprised at how many people believe that writing a will is not essential. They assume their hard-earned money will be left to intended beneficiaries automatically when they pass away. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Other people tend to procrastinate – a real roll of the dice since we don’t know when the end will come. We know first-hand that writing a will can be daunting. To help with the process, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about creating your last will and testament.
Why Is It Important To Have A Will?
When you are alive you have absolute control of your estate. But, upon death, that can all change. A will helps to regulate what happens to your estate after your death. It can even contain provisions that guarantee care for your dependents after you are gone.
Merely leaving verbal instructions or simply having the intent to execute a will is not sufficient. Even an attempt to draft a will yourself could render the document invalid if all the prescribed formalities are not properly followed.
Leaving a professionally drafted will that applies effective estate planning strategies ensures your vision becomes a reality. A will helps ensure that your hard-earned work is not needlessly devalued.
When Should You Consider Drafting A Will?
Anyone with assets would benefit from drafting a will. Legally, any person over the age of 16 is allowed to make a will unless he/she is mentally incapable of doing so.
You can choose to write a will at any point in your life. However, there are certain life events that may make the decision more necessary. Events such as having children, starting a business, or inheriting a large sum of money make having a will more urgent.
What Should I Put In My Will?
While you can virtually do what you want with your estate, there are a few limitations of which to take note. For example, there can be no provisions in your will that are unlawful, against good morals, too vague, or impossible to perform.
Additionally, any minor children have a common law claim to maintenance. Certain legislation may also limit one’s freedom of testation. Such as in a case where pension funds or spousal maintenance is concerned.
When drafting a will, consider these crucial elements:
Most parents want to ensure that their children are properly cared for in the event of their deaths. Without a will, it could solely be left up to legislation to govern what happens to your children.
Having a will gives you and your loved ones needed relief. You are free to clearly indicate who you would prefer to raise your children.
One big factor to consider when creating a will is your assets. Assets can include anything from money and business to heirlooms and other valuable items.
With a will, you can outline which individual should inherit which asset. This part of the will must be as clear as possible. The asset must be clearly described so that it is not left up for interpretation.
The decision of how to split your home is obviously more complex than giving away a favourite heirloom. If you have one home but many beneficiaries, you’ll want to clearly outline your expectations for dividing the property.
Who Should Be My Executor?
The role of an executor is an important one. It should preferably be a person or institution that is familiar with deceased estate administration.
Professional establishments like ours at Maysure Financial Services give you the option to appoint a skilled executor together with a surviving spouse or a direct family member. As a result, your estate is left in the most capable hands.
It is the executor’s job to do the bulk of the work. By sharing this responsibility, your loved ones can feel included in the decision-making. It can also help to bring important family issues into consideration.
Certified Financial Planners vs Bank Executors
While the bank might seem like the obvious choice to handle your will and estate, it could create difficulties for your surviving spouse or heirs. Having a financial institution as your estate executor means your family has much less control.
Your loved ones are left at the mercy of an impersonal financial institution. And, the process of completing your estate could take years. In the meantime, your family members will have no access to estate funds, which could lead to unwanted debt and financial struggles.
Estates are often complicated and the “standard draft will” provided by the bank might not fit your individual needs. Although its affordability makes it attractive, it usually is not equipped to render the service best suited for your situation.
Plus, these wills are never truly inexpensive. Often banks will seek to be appointed executors in order to gain the executor’s fee that works out to 3.5% of the value of the estate assets.
A serious drawback to having a bank as an executor is this. If, after your death, the bank decides the estate has little value, the institution could refuse to take the appointment as executor.
Your heirs would be forced to approach the Master of the Court to appoint a new executor. This could lead to more delays and frustration for your loved ones.
In contrast, a financial advisor assists you to map out the relevant costs as part of your estate planning. He or she can give you invaluable advice that will help you make the most out of your will and estate.
An advisor can also act as your executor. With your financial planner, you can negotiate your executor’s fees by discussing related factors, such as age, asset values, and the estate’s complexity. In that way, you can keep costs to a fair and reasonable minimum. And, you’ll ensure your will and estate administration are watertight.
Now Is The Best Time To Start Your Will
Wills are the best way to plan ahead. While there is no “perfect” time to establish one, it is a tool that can offer you and your family peace of mind. Will drafting is a delicate process that must be handled with the utmost care.
We suggest employing a professional who can assist you with this process.
Maysure can connect you with an experienced, qualified professional to handle your affairs. We offer a range of services to assist you in planning your estate at any stage in your life. It is our life’s work to ensure you feel like your last wishes are being respected.
Trust us with your last will and testament. Contact us here :
+27 11 839 2302
Maysure Financial Services is a registered financial services provider. FSP 15173