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Will Drafting: Content & Requirements

Basic Will Content

Every Will must contain the following basic content –

  • A Will must clearly state the identity of the testator/testatrix i.e. full name & Identity Number;
  • The testator’s residential address;
  • Type of marital system where the testator/testatrix is married;
  • Revocation clause revoking previous Wills;
  • Any wishes relating to the disposal of remains;
  • Clearly state the Executor/s of the will and further state:
    1. The powers and limitations of the Executor;
    2. Whether or not the Executor must provide security;
  • How the estate is to be distributed;
  1. All registered assets must be clearly stated and clearly described and any assets to be specifically bequeathed;
  2. The beneficiaries must also be accurately stated, and their identities clearly described.

Requirements for a valid will

In order for a will to be valid, there are prescribed legal requirements that must be met in terms of the Wills Act. These can be summarized as –

  • The Testator must have the intention to execute the Will;
  • The Testator must have made the declaration voluntarily (i.e. free of influence);
  • The Testator must have the mental capacity to create the Will (i.e. over 16yrs old and of sound mind);
  • The Will must comply with the formalities prescribed by the Wills Act (see discussion on Formalities of executing a Will).


Key Takeaway: In order for a Will to be validly executed, it must have the basic content and prescribed formalities adhered with.