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KP Fiduciary Solutions

Types of Wills

There are three types of Wills, each of these aims to achieve a different purpose.

  1. Single/Simple Will: A Will in which a single Testator makes their wishes known on how they wish their Estate is to be dealt with upon death.


  1. Joint Will: Written document where two or more testators (most often spouses) set out their Wills in a single document. This single document is used to express how each of the testators intend for their respective property to be devolved.


  1. Mutual Will: Similar to a joint Will, however in this case, the testators state that they will be each other’s beneficiary upon whoever of the testators dies first. Usually used by spouses who intend for their assets to devolve to one another should one die.


It is essential that should you have or wish to have a mutual Will, that the  Will state clearly what will happen should the testators die simultaneously or within a short period of time of each other (We at KP Fiduciary Solutions usually advise that the period be 30days).


Local and Foreign Wills

Wills can also be identified into whether they are local or offshore Wills –

A local Will is used for an Estate that consists of assets and investments that are all within South Africa. These assets are dealt with in terms of the legislation governing South Africa. Where a testator has offshore investments that are not immovable property, a local Will may still be adequate depending on the nature of the investments and their location.

An Offshore Will is recommended where the testator has immovable property outside of South Africa. This is because it is much more expedient for an Executor in that jurisdiction to wind up the property in terms of the laws of that country and to not have the winding up of the local Estate delayed.

NOTE: Living Wills are not the same as testamentary Wills. They are used to direct Medical Practitioners and family when one is in an incapacitated state and unable to make decisions concerning their health. (See discussion on Living Wills).


Key Takeaway: It is important that every testator know what type of Will is relevant to their estate.