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4 September 2010 No Comment

By De Louw Le Roux

A Last Will and Testament is the most basic of estate planning documents, but also one that is often misunderstood.

Many people incorrectly assume that if they were to die without a Will their estate would simply pass to their spouse or the state.  This is not the case.

If you die without a Will you are considered to have died “intestate.” Simply put, this means that the state decides how your assets will be divided—and not you.

People who will inherit from you may be your spouse, children, parents etc.

If a person dies without a Will, it could lead to severe administrative, tax and legal problems and possibly also lead to financial losses.

It is therefore advisable that you always have a legal Will in place.

Every competent person of 16 years and older may draft a Will.

In your Will, you determine how your assets should be divided, and nominate an executor and trustee to take care of the division of the estate’s assets and to handle the administration of any trust assets.

That goes without saying that you should obtain the advice of a specialist for the drafting of your Will.

Your Will therefore determines the future of everything that you’ve build up through the years – and your heirs can be influence if you don’t plan correctly.

Estate duty, income tax, VAT and capital gains tax can take a big chunk out of your estate if your planning is wrong.

Despite all of the benefits listed above, many people never get around to drafting their Will.

This can result in costly litigation and additional emotional pain for loved ones—which is unfortunate, because making a Will and planning for your loved ones after your death can be simple and inexpensive.

For further information on this topic or other legal topics, please e-mail your request to delouw@salegal.co.za  or send it to edit@thecenturion.co.za.

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