Here is how to get an attorney to draft a will for you for free

Here is how to get an attorney to draft a will for you for free

Don't let death catch you off guard. Here is your get your free will drafted by an attorney.

Last will and testament funeral policy and death

Monday, 13 September marks the first day of National Wills Week.

A 2019 report by News 24 states that over 70% of working South Africans don't have a will.

The week is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of having a will.

According to Law Society of South Africa, there are three main dangers of dying without a will:

- Your assets may not be left to the person of your choice. 

However, if you draft a will while you are still alive, you will be able to have your estate divided according to your will.

“The will becomes your voice when you no longer have the voice as the estate will devolve according to the will. You also decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate as you get to choose the executor who will ensure that your wishes are respected and executed on,” says Emmanuel David, a financial advisor based in Gauteng.

READ: What you need to know about wills - expert advice

Without a will, your estate can go to your spouse, children, parents, or relatives. However, as Law Society of South Africa states, there can be "unhappiness and conflict among members of your family because there are no clear instructions on how to distribute your assets".

- It can take a long time to have an executor appointed and the executor who is appointed may be somebody you may not have chosen yourself. 

When you die without a will, the government will appoint an Executor to your estate.

David says if you draft a will while you are still alive, you will be able to appoint who will “take care of the financial affairs of the young beneficiaries", and if there is a Trust, you can also nominate your own Trustees.

- There can be extra and unnecessary costs. 

You don’t want a chunk of your estate eaten up by costs beyond your control, hence it is vital. 

What must be included in your will

Your will must include "your name, your ID must be there and where you presently reside," says Kgopotso Maunatlala, a lecturer in the Department of Private Law at the University of Pretoria. 

"The first thing that you must mention in your will is that you are revoking all previous wills that were made by you," adds Maunatlala.

"You can include the appointment of your executor - who gets to execute your estate when you pass away," adds Maunatlala.

She says you don't have to choose one person and the person does not need to be a professional lawyer. 

You need to list all your beneficiaries.

You will also need two witnesses who sign your will in the presence of each other and the person that is making the will, the testator.

READ: SA lawyers to draft free wills

Free wills

The Law Society of South Africa, is giving members of the public are encouraged to have a basic will drafted by an attorney free of charge during National Wills Week from 13 to 17 September 2021.

Image courtesy of iStock/ @zimmytws

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