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Wills and Estates

We assist our clients to draft a detailed Will to protect the interests of loved ones and ensure the best possible outcome for their unique situations. We also assist our clients to wind up deceased estates with the office of the Master of the High Court

 

J.J. Fryer – Wills and Estates

Wills

It is vitally important to have a valid Will at all times. Significant changes in one’s family or financial affairs may also make it necessary to ensure that one’s Will makes provision for those changes.

Some factors to consider may be:

Children

  • Birth of children and birth of subsequent children
  • Provisions for inheritance and guardianship of your children
  • Provisions for creation of a trust to attend to the needs of your children

Changes in financial affairs

  • Substantial increases or decreases in the value of one’s estate
  • Establishment or disposal of one’s business or shares in a business
  • Purchase or disposal of fixed property

Powers and authority you may consider granting the executor of your estate

  • Authority to rent out fixed property and collect rental income
  • Authority to appoint accountants, and other service providers for other purposes such as of maintenance of property
  • Authority to invest income of the estate
  • Authority to pay beneficiaries a subsistence allowance while the estate is being finalised

Administration of estates

 We act as agents to assist executor of deceased estates to wind up the estate.

FAQ About Estate Law

Why is it important to have a Will?

A will allows you to choose who will inherit your assets. If you do not have a Will, the provisions of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987 apply. This may not be a suitable arrangement for you depending on your family situation.

The testator or testatrix may appoint a guardian for their children in a Will. This is an extremely important consideration for any person who has minor children.

Having a Will also allows you to set up a trust to provide for the needs of various beneficiaries. This is desirable as it gives one far more flexibility and control over matters such as when beneficiaries receive income and investment decisions. If a trust is not provided for in a Will, the funds in the estate will be held in the Guardians Fund which is administered by the Master of the High Court. It can be extremely cumbersome to deal with the Guardians fund every time funds are needed for the beneficiaries. Another benefit of a trust is that one may appoint trustees who can control the provisions funds in the best interests of the beneficiaries. A trustee should be someone you trust to act in accordance with the best interest of the beneficiaries.

Can one amend a Will?

Yes, you can make amendments to your Will. However, it is advisable to draft a new Will if any changes desirable to the provisions of your original existing Will.

What are the legal requirements for a valid Will?

Wills must be reduced to writing. The Will must be signed by the testator or testatrix and must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who must also sign the Will as witnesses. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries of the Will. It is advised that each page of the Will be signed by the Testator or testatrix and the witnesses.

I have been appointed as the executor in an estate and I don’t know what is required of me. Can I appoint someone to assist me?

Yes. The executor may appoint an agent to assist in the winding up of a deceased estate. The administration of a deceased estates is a difficult and technical process and can be daunting for any person without the necessary know how and experience. Our firm offers services as agent of the executor to assist the executor to complete the process of winding up a deceased estate.

Schedule a consultation with our Estate Lawyers.