Useful hints and tips about wills and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Please contact me if you have any more questions or concerns.
Tip 1: Get a will!
Why do you need a will?
There are many reasons but the deciding factor is, caring about the future of your family and loved ones. This means making a plan to look after them if you are not there anymore. A will is the best way to achieve this.
Tip 2: Intended beneficiaries should not witness your will.
The witnesses of your signature in your will are automatically excluded from benefiting from your estate.
The will is still valid, the witness will however forfeit their inheritance from the will.
Tip 3: Create a testamentary trust to care for your minor children.
Get a will and set up a testamentary trust. Make sure there is SUFFICIENT FUNDING for the testamentary trust to care for your children, for them to complete school, get an education and become productive members of society.
Should you choose to not create this structure for the care of your minor children your money will likely go into the state run trust for children.
TIP 4: Appoint a guardian for your minor children in your will.
This is someone whom you trust, that will look after your children should something happen to both parents.
The guardian should also be nominated as joint trustee for the testamentary trust to ensure they get the funding they need for your children’s care when they need it.
Tip 5: Make sure there is cash flow for your family for six months at least.
In the event of death all your bank accounts, unit trust investments and fixed deposits gets frozen.
Your family will not be able to access the funds until your estate is finalised, this can take months even years. If you were the main breadwinner how will they pay the household expenses, buy food, pay school fees?
You have life cover for that! Yes you are responsible and you did get life cover. Did you know that sometimes life cover can take a few months to pay out depending on the circumstances surrounding your death.
Therefore you need to make a plan to have cash readily available. A Life income product could cover this need, it is inexpensive and pays out on a monthly basis for the term you selected, 12 months, 24 months or longer depending on your needs.
Tip 6: Make sure there is enough cash in your estate.
There are significant costs in winding up an estate, Estate duty, Executors fees, Transfer fees to name but a few.
Should your estate be insolvent, some assets may have to be sold off at auction to obtain cash to pay for the costs, it may not be a good time to sell these assets and your family could loose out on a substantial portion of their inheritance due to this.
An insolvent estate will cause countless problems and take up to two years to wind up.
That is two years your family and loved ones have to struggle to get by, not to even mention the administrative burden of documents and meetings with the executor to deal with.
A small life cover policy without any nominated beneficiaries should cover this need.
Larger estates will need a bigger policy, to determine this need and structure you estate optimally you should consult a Certified Financial Planning Professional that can assist you with estate planning.
Tip 7: Be clear about what item or asset goes to whom.
This will prevent unnecessary conflict in an already difficult time for your family.
If you have any questions or comments please contact me.
Tip 8: Recently got divorced ? Amend your will today.
If you do not amend your will within 3 months after divorce and you die, it will be assumed that you wanted your ex-spouse to inherit as before the divorce.
If this is not what you want you need to amend your will urgently.