Leaving a legacy behind for your family is a big responsibility
It’s an inevitable reality that we will all pass on one day. What you leave behind will be the lasting memory in the minds of your loved ones. Controlling what happens once you pass on can only be done through an up to date will and planning for your estate.
A will is necessary if you have kids under the age of 18. Without a will they will be left at the mercy of the powers that be. Your estate will not run a course that will provide for their future and that can have devastating consequences for them.
A trust would have to be established and administered by an executor that is appointed in your will. This is only one reason why a will is so important, the final say on your entire estate.
The top 5 consequences of not having a will
- You forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and your Estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people who you may not have wanted to benefit from your Estate may inherit your Estate.
- Your Partner may be left with nothing if you are not married or your Will is not updated from a previous marriage.
- Your Children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed Guardian rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.
- Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of your Estate when final wishes are not clearly documented in a Will.
- Winding up your Estate can take years – without a Will appointing a professional Executor, the government is essentially in control of the process.
The top 5 important costs of dying
- Executor fees – You need a professional to wind up your Estate. Professionals cost money and executors can charge up to 3.5% + VAT of the value of your Estate in order to do the work. This could be hundreds of thousands of rands.
- Immediate expenses – When you pass away, your bank accounts could be frozen and your family could have limited access to money.
- Testamentary Trust fees – If you are leaving an inheritance to minors, you need to set up a Trust upon your death in order for them to inherit your assets.
- Monthly living expenses – Estates can take a long time to wrap up and families mistakenly assume their Estate will pay the monthly ongoing expenses.
- Taxes – Most people leave their entire Estate to their Spouse, but if both of you pass away and your Children inherit everything then Capital Gains Tax and other legal fees are triggered.
How you can protect your estate and legacy
An updated will is the most important. It will make sure that your estate is distributed according to your last wishes but it will not be possible if the costs are not covered. You need a protection plan to prevent the wealth of your estate from eroding before it reaches the beneficiaries.
The five costs mentioned is completely unaffordable to 75% of individuals who have an updated will in place. This is simply because they do not have a plan to make provision for the costs. Costs that most are in fact unaware of.
Please complete the questionnaire below to see if you will leave a legacy or burden behind.