Jan 24

The Importance of Having a Valid Will

As we head into the 2022 festive season, please take just a few minutes to read through this brief check list to ensure that your Will complies with the required standards and meets your specific wishes. If you are in doubt, please call your Wealth Specialist or qualified Financial Advisor to assist and Appleton will be on standby to update all your fiduciary requirements. Remember, a Will rejected by the authorities may have dire consequences for your loved ones.

Requirements for a valid will:

  • All persons 16 years and older may make a Will.
  • A Will must be reduced to writing. It is preferable that your Will is typed out. While it is not legally necessary to be typed, a person or his/her spouse who writes any part of a Will is disqualified from inheriting in terms of the Will.
  • Your Will must nominate an executor. Ensure that your nominated executor is not a Witness to your Will. It is preferable to nominate a professional executor, such as Appleton.
  • You must include all details of your nominated beneficiaries (persons who will inherit from your estate).
  • Your Will must comply with the Wills Act.
  • Each page of the Will must be signed in full, at the bottom of the page, by the testator and two independent witnesses, all signing in the presence of each other. While the law states that each page only needs to be initialled and only sign in full on the last page, to avoid confusion and contestation, it is best that all parties sign in full.
  • Witnesses must be 14 (fourteen) years or older and competent to give evidence in court. A witness should not benefit from the estate, nor should they be an Executor or Trustee nominated in the Will.
  • The last page must be dated in full, and the place inserted where the will was signed, and then, all parties must sign in full.
  • Do not use an ‘off-the-shelf’ document as an instant will. While it may pass as a valid will, it may not cover all the necessary legal requirements and could lead to a host of legal and estate problems.

The importance of updating your will regularly 

Some of the factors that should be looked at for updating your will are as follows:

  • Changing of marital status. Please familiarise yourself, or consult with your Wealth Specialist, on the distinction between a marriage that is in or out of community of property.
  • Birth of a child or grandchild.
  • Entering into a business on your own, or with someone else.
  • Any other legal event that materially affects your business or personal status.
  • Review your Will annually to ensure that it remains valid and deals with all your assets.

Finally, please ensure that a signed copy of your Will is safely stored. Appleton provides an off-site safe storage facility at no cost for all our clients.

Until we speak again in 2023, please be careful, stay safe and have a wonderful festive season!