By: Rita Padayachee / Partner / Mooney Ford Attorneys
Death as we know it is one of the certain things in life. It is however, daunting and sensitive to most of us and we tend to procrastinate until such time that it is too late.
The most important document that one must ensure is signed and attested to during one’s lifetime is his/her Last Will and Testament, yet the percentage of people without a legally valid Will remains high. We spend our lives working hard to build our own empires and to provide for our families and loved ones, however, we give no thought of what happens when we die.
What is a Will
A Will is a legal document in which a person sets out what must happen to their Estate when they die. A Will is the only legal document that gives you a voice after death. It sets out exactly how and to whom you wish your assets and legacies to devolve upon.
The most important reasons as to why you must have a Will is :-
- You save time, money and stress for your loved ones
- You decide who should be appointed as Executor of your estate to assist in managing the administration process
- You decide who will inherit
- You choose who will take care of your minor children
- You avoid family disputes
- Provides immense peace of mind
The Requirements for a Will to be valid is :-
- All persons 16 years and older are competent to make a Will
- A Will must be in writing ;
- Two competent witnesses must be present during the signing process and must be older than 14 years ( note the witness and his/her spouse may not be one of your heirs or the executor in the Will)
- The signature of the testator/testatrix must appear on every page of the Will as well as at the end of the Will (the signature must be made in the presence of two or more competent witnesses)
- The two witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator / testatrix and of each other.
It is important to ensure that your Will is professionally drawn up to avoid potential problems that may arise which could result in it being invalid and not in terms of the Wills Act.