A will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, and to appoint an executor for your estate and also a guardian for your minor children.

Johannesburg - This is National Wills Week, when attorneys across the country will be drafting free basic wills, according to the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA).

A will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, and to appoint an executor for your estate and also a guardian for your minor children.

If you were recently married, divorced or widowed, or have started cohabitating with your partner or have bought new property, you should have a new will.

Similarly, unmarried people – particularly those who may have a number of people and extended family members who depend on them financially – should ensure they have a will in place, as several people could make a claim on their estates.

The contact details of all participating attorneys can be accessed on the LSSA website at www.LSSA.org.za or by calling the relevant provincial law society:

* Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, call the Law Society of the Northern Provinces at 012 338 5800;

l The Western, Eastern and Northern Cape, call the Cape Law Society at 021 443 6700;

* Free State, call the Law Society of the Free State at 051 447 3237;

* KwaZulu-Natal, call the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society at 033 345 1304.

* Or call the LSSA at 012 366 8800.

 

What you should take to the attorney for your will to be drafted:

* Your ID document.

* A list of what you own and the approximate value (including specific personal items that you wish to bequeath to specific people).

 

Before you go to the attorney, think about

* Who must get what.

* Who should be the legal guardian of your minor children (those under 18).

* Who should be the executor of your will. This could be your attorney or a close family member or friend. If you decide on a family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor, as the attorney will deal with any legal issues.

 

If you die without leaving a will:

* Your assets may not be left to the person of your choice.

* It can take a long time to have an executor appointed.

* There could be extra and unnecessary costs.

* There could be unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.

The Star