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10 Very good reasons why you should have a Last Will and Testament
30 November 2017  | Jan van Zyl
 
“I often read in the media that it is important to have a Last Will and Testament. I am unmarried and I have 2 young children, aged 10 and 8. If I understand a recent article in our local newspaper correctly, my 2 children will inherit everything if I die without a valid Will. Why then should I have a Will?”

There are many reasons why you as a single parent with minor children should have a Will. Allow me to provide you with ten very good reasons:
  
1.    Drafting a Will is a serious and important undertaking as it is probably the most important document you will sign in your lifetime. 
  
2.    
A Will is in effect your instructions to an executor on how to handle all the assets which you have accumulated during your lifetime and it contains arrangements regarding, inter alia, the distribution of your estate.
  
3.    
A Will is the only method by which you can ensure that your assets, including items of monetary and/or sentimental value, are properly protected and distributed in accordance with your wishes.
  
4.    
A Will can have a great influence on the well-being of the persons that you care about, and when you draft a Will you ensure that they will be looked after when you are no longer there for them. 
  
5.    
Should you die without a Will while your children are still minor, their inheritances will have to be deposited in the Guardian's Fund, overseen by the Master of the High Court, until they become major. 
  
6.    
You can nominate guardians of your choice for your minor children in your Will.
  
7.    By nominating an experienced executor in your Will a family member is relieved of the burden of having to be involved in the administration of your estate.
  
8.    
If you have a Will which clearly states your wishes, potential quarrels between heirs over who gets what can easily be avoided.
  
9.    Should you die without a valid Will your estate will devolve in accordance with a formula prescribed by the Intestate Succession Act, which can lead to impractical and inflexible results that are far removed from your intentions. 
  
10.    
The absence of a valid Will can lead to a delay in the administration of your estate and can also bring about increased costs. 
  
Your children are indeed your intestate heirs but, in order to nominate guardians of your choice and to protect the inheritances of your minor children by way of a testamentary trust, you should have a Last Will and Testament drawn up as soon as possible.
 
 
 
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