A surprising number of people will spend hours planning their savings and investments – to provide security for themselves and their families later in life – without taking the time to draft a last will and testament. There is no doubt that dying without a will in South Africa is the one sure way to put your family’s financial security at risk, but many of us still play Russian roulette with our family finances despite the risks involved – here are four reasons why every person should have a will.
Protecting Your Dependents
Dying intestate (without a will) means that your assets may be frozen for months or years following your death, as a long legal process takes its course. During this time, your family or dependents will have no access to money, and won’t be able to sell any property belonging to you.
For many families, this could be mean financial disaster. Having a will takes away this risk, and ensures that your family will be financially secure when you’re no longer there to take care of them yourself.
Ensuring that Your Wishes are Respected
We often hear about people who have passed away with substantial assets but without a will. In most of these cases, a fight usually erupts over “who gets what”, with dependents and family members arguing over inheritance.
In many families, each child or grandchild may feel that they are entitled to a certain property, valuable asset, or even antiques and other items because they were “promised” that they would inherit them by the deceased. These claims usually don’t stand up in court, and can result in family feuds which are unpleasant for everyone involved.
In some cases, the dependents who were supposed to receive an inheritance according to the wishes of the deceased are left with nothing due to a legal technicality – to ensure that your wishes are respected when you pass away, you should draft a will that is specific about who will receive your assets as inheritance
Having a Will is a Loving Gesture
Working hard your whole life to take care of your dependents is an admirable thing to do, and the love and support that you show your family doesn’t need to end when you pass away – by drafting a will you will take away unnecessary pressure that your family could do without as they deal with the difficult loss of a loved one.
To ensure that your dependents are protected, talk to your financial advisor today. The process of drafting a will is not complicated, and you’ll feel better once this important legal document has been signed. Remember to update your will on a regular basis as you buy and sell assets, to ensure that nothing is left out.