By Alex Simeonides, CEO and co-founder of Capital Legacy (pictured).
The last few months have been nothing short of a whirlwind of unprecedented events for our country. As a nation we have had to navigate another level 4 lockdown and watch helplessly as friends and family lose their assets and experience the stresses associated with the recent destructive riots. We’re a unique nation, though, and our tenacity and determination to keep the spirit of Ubuntu alive, saw communities, individuals and corporates coming together to uplift those in dire need.
In crazy times like these, we often find ourselves struggling to get to all our commitments as we come to terms with our ‘new normal’. Days seem to roll into weeks, and weeks into months, and we often end up asking: “where did the year go”. The reality is that most people are living month to month and have very little time to think about the future – never mind thinking about the legacy they want to leave behind one day. This year has shown that it’s particularly important that we place emphasis on ensuring that we leave a lasting legacy for our children and future generations. In the face of adversity, and as the death toll related to Covid continues to rise, we are reminded that life can be unexpected. We need to prepare accordingly.
Why have a National Wills Week?
“More than 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid Will in place.”
The reality is that most people know they need a Will, but statistics show that South Africans are notorious procrastinators.
More than 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid Will in place, causing devastating consequences for their families and dependants.
To help combat this statistic, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) promotes National Wills week, every year, encouraging more people to take this task seriously and get their affairs in order. Participating attorneys offer their Will-drafting services for basic Wills at no cost to clients. This year, National Wills Week is from 13 to 17 September.
The Law Society explains that it is important to have a professional draft your Will as “often a Will is not valid because the person who drafts it does not have the necessary legal knowledge to ensure that the requirements of the law are met. By making a Will you ensure that your assets are disposed of in accordance with your wishes after your death”.
Why we’re making September Wills Month
With more than 75% of South African’s passing away without a Will in place, it’s not necessarily an awareness issue – it’s an education issue. People need to know what consequences their families and dependants will face if they were to pass away without a Will.
In our business, we see the reality of families struggling to deal with the loss of a loved one almost every day. This struggle is infinitely more difficult when the loved one’s affairs are not in order.
Having a National Wills Week is important – but it’s not enough. For us, every week is Wills Week – hence we’ve made September WILLS MONTH! When we see how we are helping families in their darkest hour, we are still further motivated to continue our quest “To make the loss of a loved one easier”.
“Your Last Will and Testament is probably the most important document you’ll ever sign.”
Your Last Will and Testament is probably the most important document you’ll ever sign, and it forms the cornerstone of your Estate Plan. Your Will houses your final wishes, how you would like to distribute your estate, who your beneficiaries will be, who should take care of your children should something happen to you and your spouse etc. Not having a Will in place can result in devastating consequences for the loved ones you leave behind.
Six consequences of passing away without a Will
- You forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and your Estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people whom you may not have wanted to benefit from your Estate may inherit your assets and family heirlooms.
- Your Partner may be left with nothing if you are not married, or your Will is not updated from a previous marriage.
- Your Children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed Guardian rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.
- Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of your Estate if your final wishes are not clearly documented in a Will.
- Winding up your Estate can take years – without a Will appointing a professional Executor, the Government is essentially in control of the process.
- You lose the ability to nominate a guardian of your choice for your minor children.
For more info on Wills Month or to book your complimentary Will consultation, visit: www.capitallegacy.co.za/willsmonth
Tags: Capital Legacy, consequences of passing away without a Will, Last Will and Testament, National Wills Week, Wills Month