Get you will drafted for free during the Law Society of South Africa National Wills Week
The Law Society of South Africa National Wills Week is taking place on 11 to 15 September 2023. The Wills Week presents the ideal opportunity to get your will done. Members of the public will be able to have a basic will drafted by an attorney free of charge during National Wills Week from 11 to 15 September 2023. Attorneys’ firms throughout the country are participating in the National Wills Week campaign. Please ensure that you register for a free will with an attorney or a law firm.
By making a will you ensure that your assets are disposed of in accordance with your wishes after your death. This privilege is called ‘freedom of testation’. Many South Africans do not have wills and you must ensure that you have a legally sound will. This ensures that there are no competing claims on your estate when you pass away and your intention to your dependents is followed.
Why should an attorney draft your will?
Attorneys are professionals qualified in law. An attorney can advise you on any problem which may arise with regard to your will. An attorney has the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will is valid and complies with your wishes. 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.
What happens to your estate if you die without a valid will?
If you die without leaving a valid will, your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act. The provisions of this Act are generally fair and ensure that your possessions are transferred to your spouse and children, and where applicable, to siblings, parents, and if required, then to the extended family in terms of degrees of relationships and those that were dependent on you for financial support.
BUT, the following problems may arise if you die without leaving a will:
- Your assets may not be left to the person of your choice.
- It can take a long time to have an executor appointed. The executor who is appointed may be somebody you may not have chosen yourself.
- There can be extra and unnecessary costs.
- There can be unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets.
The Law Society of South (LSSA) initiated Wills Week, with the support of key stakeholders, to ensure that members of the public have their wills drafted by practising attorneys, who have the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will is valid by complying with all the legal requirements in the Wills Act.
The LSSA has noted many other persons who are not legal practitioners use LSSA’s Wills Week for advertising their services. Please note that they are not part of the LSSA Wills Week.
If you are a parent, a breadwinner, a homeowner and generally want to ensure that your affairs are in order, it is important that you have a valid will drafted by a professional. A valid will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, to appoint an executor of your choice for your estate and a guardian for your minor children.
By ensuring that you have a valid will, you as the testator can protect the interests of your loved ones and ensure that there is no delay in settling your estate after your death, and not add undue hardships for your loved ones. It also ensures that your executor will act according to your wishes as set out in your will.
During National Wills Week, attorneys participating in the initiative will display posters with their contact details so that members of the public can make appointments with attorneys in their area. In addition, the contact details and addresses of all participating attorneys can be accessed on the LSSA website.
What you should provide to the attorney for your will to be drafted
- Your ID document
- A list of what you own (including specific personal items that you wish to bequeath to specific people)
- A list of beneficiaries and their ID numbers.
Before the consultation with your attorney, think about
- Who must get what?
- Who should be the legal guardians of your minor children (those under 18)?
- Who should be the executor of your will? This could be your attorney or a close family member or friend. If you decide on a family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor as the attorney will deal with any legal issues. The executor must be approved by the Master of the High Court.
Where to find an attorney to draft your will:
The contact details of attorneys participating in the National Wills Week project can be accessed on the LSSA website at www.lssa.org.za.