Most people don’t think about drafting a last will and testament until they’ve had the unfortunate experience of losing someone close to them. Often family and friends divide up their loved one’s belongings, which can cause friction in an already emotionally charged situation.
Failing to make proper arrangements for the distribution of assets can slow down the administration of a deceased’s estate. Therefore, the sooner an estate is finalised, the sooner the assets or the income derived from them, can be applied towards the care and support of the family who is left behind.
When someone passes on without a will in place, the Intestate Succession Act’s predetermined hierarchy of how assets will devolve will be enforced. Problems arise when there are known heirs, but they cannot be found, which is more common than many people might think. Children who are orphaned must go through the arduous process of having a guardian appointed by the High Court.
To prevent undue stress and trauma in such cases, many parents choose to create a trust for their minor children, or children who are differently abled and who aren't able to take care of themselves or their own finances when they are left an inheritance.
By creating a children’s trust, the parents can appoint specific people (trustees) to manage the financial affairs of orphaned children until such time as they are able to do so for themselves (if ever).