This week marks “National Wills Week”. For all practical purposes this should serve as a reminder that those who do not have a Will should really think about having one and those who have a Will it is a reminder that perhaps this is an opportune moment to review its provisions to ensure they are still relevant, especially if circumstances have changed.
It’s important to remember the old maxim: “You either die with a Will you have signed or one the state has compiled for you in terms of the Intestate Succession Act.”! There have been many stories in the news of high- profile people dying without a valid Will and the problems that alone has caused for their families.
Besides having a competently drafted Will, which meets with your wishes as to how your estate is to be dealt with, it is also important to consider the international aspect of estate planning, where South Africans increasingly have assets situated abroad. Questions such as: Is it necessary to have a foreign Will as well as a local one and: if there are two or more Wills, do the provisions compliment each other and not clash?
Another issue we’ve come across in recent times is: Would your next of kin or executor have access to your various bank account passwords – both in South Africa and abroad – seeing as this is an age where most records are kept electronically. Keeping a list of bank accounts and passwords, which is sufficiently secure but readily accessible to a family member or executor is something to think about.