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.