Last Will (Testament) and Estate Planning Insurance in South Africa

Imagine the repercussions for your loved ones, if you were the breadwinner and die without a valid 'Last Will or Testament' – Your accounts may be frozen while the state prepares to step in and manage your Estate, with your spouse and dependants immediately left in financial trouble at a time they're distracted by grief.


Last Will or Testaments and Estate Planning:
Appoint a Professional Executor

Need Wills or Testaments and Estate Planning Insurance Assistance?

Last Will or Testament and Estate Planning: Set up a Trust to manage outcomes
Remember that Life Insurance covers liabilities and claims
 Broker Directory News See News on Last Will, Testament or Estate Planning:
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All humans share one common fate – death. Most of us avoid thinking about it, or even planning for it. Death is an inevitable part of our journey and one thing is for sure - that it will happen. Therefore, plan ahead and make sure you have the peace of mind, for the times when you are not around anymore - ensure that your Last Will (or Testament) and Estate Planning is taken care of.

In some instances with certain terminally ill sicknesses, we have the benefit of knowing that death is close. In others instances, there is absolutely no warning. By drafting your 'Last Will (or Testament)', you can record your last wishes and the Executor (or Executrix) of your Will can then manage your estate accordingly. If you still have small children, it is a pro-active measure to appoint a Guardian in the event of the death of the parents. In such an instance where the deceased don't have a Will, the courts will appoint a Guardian on his/her behalf. Clearly, by appointing your own trusted guardian, would almost always be a better option.

Don’t wait, because accidents happen anytime and anywhere all the time. Dying without a Will, may result in the court assigning an Executor of your estate. Your estate may then be distributed and include beneficiaries you may have preferred to exclude. It is wise to seek the services of a Professional, to draft and keep your Will in safe storage.

Estate Planning: Estate Planning helps you avoid bequeathing a portion of your hard-earned assets or cash to the taxman when you die, rather than leaving it to provide for your heirs and loved ones. Estates may vary in size, complexity and circumstances. It is therefore advisable to do it right from the start and review and amend it at regular intervals. It is common practice for a Trust to be set up with a Will, where the deceased (the Testator) wants to manage a certain outcome. The appointed trustees will then manage according to the terms lain down in the trust.

During the course of your lifetime, circumstances will change. Events like the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, death of a current beneficiary, may all require you to revise your Will. If circumstances change, remember to also revise the beneficiaries on other important documents, such as life policies, trust deeds or group life funds.

We recommend that important documents are kept together with a copy of your Will. Financial statements, life insurance policies, funeral policies, etc, may all fall in this category. This makes it much easier for your family to locate important documents. Also make a note of where your original Will is kept. Make sure to state this is a copy of the will, marked clearly with the word "Copy", as the original will obviously be kept safe with the bank, attorney or your broker.

Law firms, Banks, trust companies or a registered professional financial advisor, can assist with your Will and/or Trust.

It is important to have adequate cash to meet the liabilities of the estate. If outstanding liabilities such as mortgages, taxes, vehicles or loans cannot be paid, it will cause a problem to wind up the estate. Therefore, you should consult with your insurance broker, where a good life insurance policy is an easy way to avoid such a problem.

Living Will: Another consideration, may also be a 'Living Will'. it is actually a set of directives regarding whether to prolong your life with medical devices, should you become incapacitated. Some individuals want to avoid being in a particular medical condition, where there is little chance of recovery or improvement. By drafting a Living Will, you can communicate in advance what should be done in such circumstances.

If you have investments outside the borders of South Africa, then you are dealing with foreign laws as each country have unique laws applicable to inheritance and the singing of Wills. It is advisable to have a separate Will to deal with foreign jurisdictions and how best to deal with such offshore investments.

There are a few insurers and niche players offering Last Will (Testaments) and Estate Planning Insurance, so investigate your options carefully.

In fact, the smartest thing you can do is -- Get a specialist broker to do it for you!
Documents that may be required when drafting a Will or Testamant, may include the following:
  • Name and detail of the Executor;
  • The spouse's detail, including identification;
  • Marriage status and how you are married (in or outside of community of property). Include a copy of the marriage certificate;
  • If you got divorced, then a copy of decree and settlement may be required;
  • All children, including stepchildren, adopted children, or grandchildren’s personal detail (full names and ID numbers) is required – if you want them to be included in your Will;
  • If you still have small (or minor) children, then advise the name and contact detail of the nominated guardian;
  • Nominate any beneficiaries you may want to donate some assets;
  • Include the detail of any institution or other party, you may want to benefit through your estate - eg Church or hospice;
  • In the case of paid properties – title deeds may be required, or where money is still owed to a bank, a copy of the mortgage bond, or in plain English – your outstanding home loan;
  • Copies of all your insurance policies. (Life insurance, Short-term insurance, business insurance, credit short fall and any other relevant policies);
  • A list of all your liabilities would also be required.
Some of the duties of the Executor or Executrix of a Will, are the following:
  • Receive payments that are due to the estate such as interest, dividends, investments and other income (e.g. unpaid salary, leave pay and other company benefits);
  • Pay funeral bills, outstanding debts, and valid claims against the estate;
  • File and pay income and estate taxes;
  • Identify who is going to get what and how much and distribute it as per the instructions set out in the Will;
  • Realise assets which require to be realised;
  • It is important to have a person with the necessary knowledge and expertise to draw up your Will. A law firm, your bank, or a trust company can help you in drawing up a Will.
  • Witnesses: Once the Will is fully completed, you have to sign and date it in the presence of two witnesses, in order for it to be valid. Both witnesses must be of the age of 14 or above and be competent to give evidence in a court of law. A person must be of sound mind as a test of his/her ability to give evidence in court. A beneficiary in a Will must not be involved in the drawing up or attesting to a Will as witnesses. A person who attests and signs a Will as a witness or is involved in the drafting of a Will, is disqualified from benefitting under the Will.

Estate Planning: Appoint a Guardian for minor children
Also specify assets for Beneficiaries

If terminally ill, consider a Living Will, before becoming incapacitated
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