You've worked hard during your lifetime to build up your assets. And you no doubt want to be sure that when the time comes, your chosen heirs will have access to your estate without the additional pain and confusion of dealing with financial matters after a loved one's death.
Estate, will and tax planning is a fundamental part of organising your financial affairs.
Here's what you need to know:
- Anyone over the age of 16 and who is of sound mind can draw up a will
- A will allows you to choose your heirs, select the executor of your estate, choose a guardian to look after your minor children, and protect your inheritance for your spouse and children
- If you have an existing will, it needs to be updated regularly, as your circumstances change – such as the birth of a child, a marriage or divorce, or the acquisition of assets
- Your minor children will need financial security, so it may be wise set up a testamentary trust within your will that will take care of the educational and financial needs of these children. It is also the only legal means to protect your minor children’s inheritance from being placed in the Guardian’s Fund
- The consequences of not setting up a will are far-reaching: you will die intestate and the law of intestate succession will apply. This means that the law will determine who your heirs are and who benefits from your estate
- If you do not have a will, the courts will appoint an executor as well as a guardian for your children, and it is likely that the process of obtaining maintenance from the Guardian’s Fund will be a lengthy and tedious one
- Although the court always has the power to validate a will, it is critical that you make sure that your will has been signed and witnessed correctly
- It is a good idea to ensure that the witnesses to your will are not actual beneficiaries in your will as this could cause a conflict of interest when the court validates your will
- Make sure you get sound expert financial advice when drawing up your will to ensure correct estate planning
- Remember to keep your will simple, practical and feasible to avoid any confusion or conflict after your death
Contact one of our expert financial advisers now to assist you with your estate, will and tax planning.