Top 5 Reasons You Should Have a Last Will & Testament

a photograph of a document with a front page that reads LAST WILL AND TESTAMENTA Will is essential BUT many people don’t draft one. This can lead to hardship. In this brief article we will follow the lives of an ordinary family of four, Greg (34 years old). Kate (30 years old. Cody (5 years old), and Lucy (3 years).

We Will Illustrate 5 Reasons Why Having a Last Will & Testament is a MUST!

1. Guardianship of Your Minor Children

Problem scenario:

  • Greg and Kate have two children, Cody and Lucy. Should both Greg and Kate die simultaneously, or should the second of them die, in each case without having a valid will, the state will appoint a guardian to Cody and Lucy.
  • This will add stress and uncertainty to Cody and Lucy. While the state is obliged to consider what is in the best interests of Cody and Lucy, nobody will be able to decide who would be best suited to care for their emotional and material needs better than Greg and Kate.

Solution in their Will:

If Greg and Kate had drafted a joint Will they could have carefully selected guardians to care for Cody and Lucy in these circumstances and would provide for a certain and smooth transition for Cody and Lucy in an otherwise uncertain and stressful time.

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2. Inheritance of a Minor Child

Problem scenario:

Should Greg and/or Kate die without leaving a Will, any inheritance which would go to Cody and/or Lucy, as minors, would be paid to the Guardian’s Fund, a state run fund, and held until they reached the age of majority. Their guardian would have to claim amounts from the Guardian’s Fund as and when needed, (i.e. for their education, maintenance etc). This would create an unnecessary added burden for the guardian.

Solution in their Will:

Greg and Kate could easily provide, in their Will, that any benefit left to a minor would be left to trust, to be set up in terms of the Will, of which the minors would be beneficiaries. The trustees would then attend to Cody and Lucy’s monetary maintenance needs until they reached the age of majority or such other age as Greg and Kate may have decided.

3. Simultaneous Death

Problem Senario:

Greg wants his estate to be left to Kate on his death and vice-versa. Both Greg and Kate may not foresee the consequences of them dying at the same time. In these circumstances, if they have not provided for this situation, their estates would be divided up according to the law which may not be what they would have wanted.

Solution in their Will:

By drafting a Will, Greg and Kate can record exactly what would happen to their estates should they die together thereby ensuring that their family is looked after as they had intended.

4. Appointment of an Executor

Problem scenario:

  • An executor is a person who winds up Greg and Kates estates after their deaths. The executor will deal with all of Greg and Kate’s assets, settle their liabilities, and be responsible to distribute the balance of their estates to their beneficiaries. The executor will also earn a fee for administering Greg and Kate’s estates.
  •  It is so important that Greg and Kate appoint someone competent and trustworthy to administer their estates. If Greg and/or Kate die without a Will, the state will appoint an executor which will likely be a stranger to their family and whose competence or trustworthiness is unknown.

Solution in their Will:

Greg and Kate could simply elect an executor in their Will, someone who is known to and trusted by them.

5. Conditional Inheritance

A valid will enables Greg and Kate to place certain conditions on the inheritance of a listed beneficiary. For example, they could leave their home to their children subject to the grandparents having life rights to live in the home.

Next Steps

We would love to assist you in getting your Will drafted. Contact us to get started

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