Coronavirus pandemic sees surge in people drafting wills
Durban - WITH the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, dying suddenly has become a reality, resulting in an increasing number of people visiting the Legal Aid SA offices for assistance in drafting a will, said attorney Simphiwe Gazo.
October 26 to 30 is National Wills Week where participating law firms will be drafting wills at no cost.
A list of the participating attorneys can be found on the Law Society of SA website www.lssa.org.za
Gazo, a Legal Aid SA attorney in the civil department in Pinetown, said they have observed more people drafting wills and it could be due to the pandemic and to prevent family disputes that may arise as a result of a sudden death.
“People are alarmed and have been coming in numbers. In my view, the lack of information is the reason most people do not have wills, especially in our African communities.”
Gazo said it did not matter how many assets or how much money you had, a will was an important document to have as a last testament.
“Property is the major estate that requires the owner to state exactly what should be done with it, whether it’s for the children to continue to stay in or sold for the money to be shared among the living dependants or relatives.
“Little things that may not necessarily be worth as much as the property can form part of the will. A ring, or any other item of sentimental value can be included in the will.”
He added even wishes of where or how a person would like to be buried or cremated should be documented in a will to avoid family disputes.
Gazo said in terms of the Wills Act, drafting a will is permitted for people over the age of 16. “We encourage the youth to also do their wills.”
Legal Aid SA spokesperson Bongani Mahlangu said Legal Aid SA had identified that not having a will in place, more so when there is a sudden death, led to acrimony among family over the division of assets.