In the spirit of National Wills Week taking place from Monday 12 September to Friday 16 September, Ecsponent Financial Services – along with a number of other firms participating in the initiative – will be facilitating the drafting of free basic wills for those who register online.

 

“It is crucial for everyone to draw up a last will and testament sooner rather than later. While it is not something we like to think about, it is the responsible thing to do for your family and loved ones. It also allows you to ensure that your final wishes are carried out.”

 

This is according to Ecsponent Financial Services National Executive Head, Floris Slabbert. He explains that a will is a signed and witnessed legal document that allows you (rather than the state and associated laws) how your assets are distributed after your death, who your children’s guardians are, how your debt should be addressed and who the executor of your estate will be.

 

Slabbert says, “If you pass away without a will it is referred to as dying intestate. In this case, if you are married, your assets will go to your husband or wife and if you have children, your estate will be divided and shared between your spouse and children. The state, however, decides on this split.”

 

Severe consequences of dying without a will

With this in mind, Slabbert notes that there are a number of problems that may arise if you pass away without a will.

 

“If you have not highlighted who you want your assets to go to, they may be left to someone who would not be your first choice. This may also happen if you fail to update your beneficiaries following an important life event such as a divorce or birth in the family.”

 

“Without a will, it may also take a much longer time for an executor to be appointed. This is the person who will be responsible for making sure that all of your debts have been paid off and that any remaining assets are distributed according to your true wishes. If you die without a will, you will have no say over who carries out this crucial role of ensuring your loved ones are treated fairly and according to your wishes,” he adds.

 

Slabbert adds that there may also be additional costs associated with distributing your belongings if you have not declared a will and that, without clear instructions from yourself, conflict among loved ones is also more likely.

 

“Something that many people may overlook when drawing up a will is to identify a specific individual who should receive anything remaining in your estate after specifics – such as property and policies – have been distributed. Not doing so often causes unnecessary delays in the process and can prolong an already unpleasant experience for the family,” he says.

 

Slabbert advises that a professional in law and/or estate planning will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to ensure that your will ticks all the legal boxes. “There are myriad considerations to bear in mind. For example, many people specify that their assets must be preserved for their children in a testamentary trust after their passing, but they don’t take the cost of maintaining such a trust into consideration. This can amount to significant figures and is best addressed during the estate planning phase.”

 

“In addition, without proper planning, your estate may attract unnecessary taxes and fees. For example, Donations Tax and Capital Gains tax are some of the most expensive taxes related to estates. Both can be minimised or even avoided, through proper planning within the rules of the Tax and Wills Act.” Adds Slabbert.

 

Get your free will drafted with Ecsponent Financial Services’ support

“It is not every day that such a service is offered free of charge and we urge South Africans to take advantage of the opportunity. Take control of your assets and plan for the future, register with us at and have your first basic will drafted by a professional free of charge,” he concludes.

 

Register for your free basic will.