We’re all familiar with the popular idiom: death and taxes (“the only two certainties in the world”). The topic of Wills is often avoided because, let’s be honest, it’s not always pleasant to think about what would happen if you were to pass away. Making proactive plans to protect your loved ones and ensure that your legacy is left as you intended it, needn’t be a doom and gloom topic. It’s the responsible thing to do and we should be discussing it more openly and more often.
Your Will is probably the most important document you’ll ever sign and the consequences of passing away without a valid Will in place can be dire. Without a Will in place, everything you leave behind is distributed according to intestate succession law – which is usually not in line with your plan for the inheritance that you’ll one day leave behind for your loved ones.
If you have any assets in the form of money, jewellery, property, investments etc., or if you have children who are minors, you need to have a valid Will in place.
“75% of South Africans pass away without a valid Will in place.”
Every year the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) promotes National Wills Week, where they encourage law firms to offer free Will drafting in an effort to raise awareness around the importance of Wills. There is an inconceivable statistic that more than 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid Will in place. Why is this number so high, you may ask? The results of an independent survey conducted by Primedia Broadcasting this month helped us get to the bottom of it! The survey posed the question of why consumers hadn’t yet got their Will in place. The outcome was as follows:
- 49% of respondents: “I just haven’t got around to it.”
- 15% of respondents: “I’m not sure where to get my Will done.”
- 15% of respondents: “I think it might be expensive to get a Will.”
- 13% of respondents “I don’t think I need a Will.”
- 8% of respondents: “Other.”
As you can see, procrastination was the top reason for not having a Will in place, so most consumers questioned understood the need for a Will, but simply hadn’t gotten around to it.
“When you consider the impact on your family, your Estate and your legacy when you pass away without a Will in place, you’d think this would be a top priority– and yet we still see only 1 in 4 South Africans passing away with a valid Will in place,” says Brandon Garbutt, MD of Capital Legacy.
In the survey, participants were also asked whether the Covid-19 Pandemic had made them think more about their Estate Planning and what legacy they would like to leave behind one day? The result was a resounding ‘yes’.
“This year has shown that it’s particularly important that we place emphasis on ensuring that we leave a lasting legacy for our children and future generations. In the face of adversity, and as the death toll related to Covid continues to rise, we are reminded that life can be unexpected. We need to prepare accordingly,” notes Alex Simeonides, CEO of Capital Legacy.
“Is your Will in order?”
It’s time to get our communities talking about the subject of Wills and encouraging those in our circles to take action. Getting your Last Will and Testament drafted shouldn’t be a daunting task. This week you can get it done at no cost through participating law firms. At Capital Legacy, we offer Will consultations at no cost, year-round and we’ve made September ‘Wills Month’ to place extra emphasis on this important topic.
National Wills Week is the ideal time to get your affairs in order. Don’t read this and put it off for another day. Take an hour of your time and get this important task done and dusted; you’ll have such peace of mind. Don’t procrastinate – get your Will sorted today!
For more information and to arrange your complimentary Will consultation, visit: www.capitallegacy.co.za/willsmonth