Ramirez Attorneys can assist you with drafting of a last will and testament ensuring that your estate is divided in terms of your wishes. We can provide advice to ensure that minor beneficiaries are provided for in terms of a testamentary trust and that their capital income is paid to them at the right age.
Benefits of a will
If you pass away without a valid will, your estate will be dissolved in terms of the laws of the Intestate Succession Act.
If this happens, Master of the High Court will be appointed as executor of the estate and all benefits due to minor children will be administered by the guardian’s fund.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who may make a will?
Any person 16 years or older unless such person is mentally incapable.
What are the formalities?
- The testator as well as the witnesses (above the age of fourteen who are mentally competent) must sign the will with full signatures on the last page. In the case where the will is more than one page the testator is required to sign each page, it is not a requirement that the witnesses sign each page, however, it is advised.
- The testator and witnesses must sign the will in the presence of each other.
- In the case of the testator, signing includes the making of a mark. If the will is signed by the making of a mark it must be signed by a commissioner of oaths must sign the document, and certify that he has satisfied himself as to the identity of the testator.
- Witnesses should not be beneficiaries as they will not be entitled to inherit.
- The signatures at the end of the will must be as close as possible to the end clause of the will.
Why should I have a will?
- To control how your assets are distributed.
- To protect your minor children.
- You can appoint the executor/executrix.
Who/What is an executor and what do they do?
An executor/executrix is the person appointed by the deceased to administer his/her estate. This is usually a professional person who has experience in the administration of deceased estates (such as an attorney, accountant, bank) but can be a friend or family member.
The executor must ensure that the death is reported to the Master of the High Court and complete and submit the relevant legal documents. The executor will ensure that all debts are settled and that surplus money and property are distributed to the heirs (also known as beneficiaries).
An executor will be required to furnish security to the Master of the High Court unless excluded in the will.