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Cometh the hour, will your Will be done?

One hopes it doesn’t come knocking in the neighbourhood, or worse, on the door of a loved one. Death is taboo in many cultures around the world. It is not a subject to unwind over after a long day at work. This is because very rarely do we feel ready for it, even though it is an eventuality for all of us.

Wills have over the years grown in popularity amongst the mature demographic. However, many professionals of varying ages are now realising the importance of having a Will. The law provides that any person above the tender age of sixteen (16) may prepare a Will. Death can strike at any time, at any age, therefore in an effort to uphold prudence and ensure some level of certainty upon passing, it is advisable to prepare a Will.

It is a selfless act to do for your loved ones; to effectively manage your estate ensuring the security of assets. This will also allow them to mourn your death without the complication of quibbling over your estate, in an effort to distribute it “the way you would have wanted.”

What is a Will?

It is a testamentary document in which one bequeaths his/her estate to his/her chosen beneficiaries. It states who is to benefit what from your estate in the event of your death. The signature of two witness is required with the signature of the person making the Will. The Will may not be witnessed by anyone who stands to benefit from it. Therefore, it is important to have a couple of names in mind of two neutral persons who may witness your Will. Further to this, witnesses may not act as executor of the same Will to which they have acted as witness to.

The reason the law lays out this restriction is because there have been reported cases where beneficiaries have taken the lives of their parents or spouses, in an effort to accelerate accessing their share from the estate. The law seeks to protect those who have created Wills to meet with death at the intended time and not accelerated death driven by the contents of a Will.

Why should I register a Will?

The law provides that Wills can be registered with the Master of the High Court. However, this is not favoured by most as it is public notice of the contents of your wishes. Once registered it cannot be tampered with or alternate versions presented posthumously by family or friends. Take note that it is permissible to amend a Will or deregister it altogether during one’s lifetime. You have nothing to lose, take the initiative to draft a Will!