How to make a Will

How to make a Will

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  1. What is a will?

The Law of Succession Act defines a will as a legal declaration by a person making their wishes regarding the administration of their property after their death.

  • A will is made by a Testator who must be an adult of sound mind.
  • A will must be witnessed by two or more competent witnesses. A competent witness is an adult person of sound mind.
  • The person appointed to administer the estate is known as an Executor/Executrix.
  • A codicil is a document that amends a will by explaining, altering or adding to the provisions in the will. It must be signed by the Testator and witnessed by two or more competent witnesses.
  1. Types of wills

There are two types of wills. Oral wills and written wills.

  1. How to make an oral will

Section 9 of the Law of Succession Act provides that:

  • An oral will must be communicated verbally to two or more competent witnesses.
  • An oral will is only valid for three months.
  • Oral wills by the military are valid for more than three months if they die in active service.

          What to communicate in an oral will

  • Executor’s/Executrix’s details;
  • Asset details;
  • Beneficiaries;
  • Distribution of the estate;
  • Funeral arrangements; and
  • The Guardians and trustees where there are children.
  1. How to make a written will

Section 11 of the Law of Succession Act provides that a written will must:

  • Be written;
  • Be signed by the Testator or a person authorised by the Testator in their presence.
  • Be witnessed by two or more competent witnesses.
  • A beneficiary who acts as a witness may render their bequest invalid.

          What to include in a written will

  • Testator’s details;
  • Executor’s/Executrix’s details;
  • Asset details;
  • Beneficiaries;
  • Distribution of the estate;
  • Funeral arrangements; and
  • The Guardians and trustees where there are children.

Make your will here.

  1. Where to store a Will
  • Store your will in a safe place that is fireproof and waterproof. E.g. a safe, a safe deposit box or with your Lawyer!
  • Inform the Executor/Executrix of the where you have kept your will.
  • Inform the beneficiaries of the existence of your will.
  1. How to change a Will
  • Make a new will.
  • Make an alteration and sign next to the alteration, and then have it signed by two competent witnesses – Section 20 of the Law of Succession Act.
  • Add a memorandum at the back of the will, sign it and have it signed by two competent witnesses.
  • Make a codicil.
  1. How to revoke a will

Section 18 of the Law of succession Act provides that a Testator by may revoke a will by:

  • Making another will;
  • Making a codicil;
  • Burning the will;
  • Completely tearing the will; or
  • Destroying the will.

N.B

  • Cancelling a will or partly tearing a will does not revoke a will. Ensure you completely destroy the will otherwise it is still valid.
  • A will can only be revoked by the testator or on instruction by the Testator in their presence.
  1. What happens if you do not have a will?

Your estate will be administered intestate.

 

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