The Importance of a Will
It can be said that the most important document you may sign in your lifetime is a Will.
The Wills Act 7 of 1953 sets out the requirements for a valid Will
The following are requirements for a Valid Will:
– The Testator (person who signs the Will), has to be over the age of 16 and compos mentis (of sound mind);
– The Last page of the Will, has to be signed by the Testator;
– Signature of the Testator should be done in the presence of two or more competent witnesses present at the same time; and;
– Such witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of the Testator and of each other;
– If the Will consists of more than one page, each page other than the last page, is to be signed by the Testator;
– The witnesses have to be of 14 years or older;
– If the Will is signed by the Testator by the making of a mark or by some other person in the presence and by the direction of the Testator, a Commissioner of Oaths certifies that he has satisfied himself as to the identity of the Testator and that the Will so signed is the Will of the Testator,;
– The Commissioner of Oaths must ensure that the requisite Certificate, stating the above, must be attached to the Will;
When a person dies without a Will and or a Valid Will, the distribution of his estate is governed by the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987. Which means that the Act stipulates how a person’s estate may be distributed, which may be contrary to the person’s ultimate intentions on death.
There are also instances where a person can die partially testate and partially intestate. This occurs when the Will does not clearly direct the deceased’s intentions and or certain clauses of the Will may be deemed to be invalid for various reasons.
Its is therefore vitally important that regardless of your asset worth, that you have a Will drafted by an attorney who is familiar with the Wills Act, the Intestate Succession Act, the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965, to name just a few.
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