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Chance to draft a will

Have you been recently divorced or widowed? Have you bought a new home? Have you been cohabiting with your partner for some time? Do you have dependents? If so, it is advisable to have a legally sound will to ensure that there are not competing claims on your estate when you pass away.

As has become tradition over the past few years members of the public will be able to have a basic will drafted by an attorney free of charge during National Wills Week from 16 to 20 September. Attorneys’ firms throughout the country are participating in the National Wills Week project.

“If you are a parent, a breadwinner, a homeowner and generally want to ensure your affairs are in order, it is important that you have a valid will drafted by a professional,” says Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) President, Mvuzo Notyesi. “A valid will allows you to state your last wishes, who should inherit your assets and property, to appoint an executor of your choice for your estate and also a guardian for your minor children.

“By ensuring you have a valid will, you as the testator can protect the interests of your loved ones and ensure that there is no delay in settling your estate after your death. It also ensures that your executor will act according to your wishes as set out in your will. A valid will allows you to state who should inherit your assets and property, to appoint an executor of your choice for your estate and also a guardian for your minor children,”

During National Wills Week from 16 to 20 September, attorneys participating in the initiative will display posters with their contact details so members of the public can make appointments with attorneys in their area. In addition, the contact details and addresses of all participating attorneys can be accessed on the LSSA website at www.LSSA.org.za.

What you should take to the attorney for your will to be drafted is your ID document and a list of what you own (including specific personal items that you wish to bequeath to specific people).

Before you go to the attorney, think about who must get what? Who should be the legal guardians of your minor children (those under 18)? Who should be the executor of your will? This could be your attorney or a close family member or friend. If you decide on a family member or friend, it is advisable also to nominate the attorney as co-executor, as the attorney will deal with any legal issues.

Where to find an attorney to draft your will: The contact details of attorneys participating in the National Wills Week project can be accessed on the LSSA website at www.LSSA.org.za.

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