Drafting a will need not be a complicated or frustrating task. With a few pointers and some help from a legal practitioner, it should be a breeze. Here are some dos and don’ts

Do ensure that:

  • Your will complies with the Wills Act. This sees to it that your will does the distribution precisely as you have directed.
  • You appoint a trusted Executor, whose task it would be to ensure that your distribution wishes are adhered to.
  • You differentiate between a directive and a wish. Wishing for a bequest might leave the door open to interpretation, however, a directive would outline precisely what is to be done.
  • You keep in mind former spouses and their children. If you are currently offering maintenance, do try to continue this offer in your will.
  • If you have heirs that are minors, it would be wise to establish a testamentary trust to care for them until they are of age. The trust should dissolve once it has concluded its task. In this instance, it would be wise to appoint guardians of minors.
  • The full names of all the heirs, their relationship to the deceased, and their ID numbers are provided in the will.

Do not

  • Include your funeral wishes in your will. It is most likely that your will shall be read after your funeral causing funeral wishes to be missed.
  • Expect monies such as annuities, pension funds and group insurances to be part of your will. These are paid outside the estate by the Trustees of the fund/scheme.
  • These would have their beneficiaries stated on the policy or fund. The will only dispose of assets that are part of the estate. Complicate the division and distribution of the assets. If, for instance, you leave a house to your spouse and your two children. The division of this will be complicated.
  • You could have a directive that the house is sold and apportion the cash received be divided into particular portions.