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KP Fiduciary Solutions

Will Basics – What, Who and Why?

What is a Will?

A Will is a written document in which you as the Testator/Testatrix (Person who drafts the Will) instruct how your property assets after settling Estate liabilities should be distributed. It allows you as far as possible to ensure that your dependants and loved ones are sufficiently taken care of when you die.

A Will also allows you to express how your body and or organs are to be handled upon death.

What is a Codicil?

A codicil is a written document that accompanies an already executed Will. It is used to amend one or more provisions in an existing Will as an alternative to redrafting the entire Will. It is subject to the same requirements and formalities as a Will in order to be valid.

Who should have a Will?

Everyone should have a Will, no matter how big or small your Estate is. If you’re above 16 years of age and of sound mind you have the capacity to draw up a Will and should do so.

Why Should you have a Will?

A properly drafted Will allows the testator/testatrix to direct how they wish their Estate to be managed and distributed. Dying with no valid Will (known as dying intestate) is undesirable as:

  • The Estate will be dealt with in terms of Intestate Succession law (See discussion on Intestate Succession) as inheritance is governed by law and not the wishes of the person;
  • The Process of winding down the Estate may become long and protracted.

Basic Will Drafting: Content & Formalities

In order for a Will to be validly executed, it must contain certain information and prescribed formalities must be adhered to. These include –

Basic Content: Identity of the testator/testatrix, beneficiaries and Executors (i.e. full names and Identity Numbers).

Formalities of a Will: Every page must be signed and dated by the testator. As well as witnessed by 2 independent witness. KP Fiduciary Solutions advises that each page be witnessed as well.

(See discussion on Will drafting and Formalities of a Will for more information).

Key Takeaway: A Will is an important part of any person’s life no matter the size of their estate. It ensures that the estate is devolved according to the testators wishes.