Leaving your legacy
Leaving behind a legacy is more than just about the amount of money or possessions you may leave behind after passing away. Creating a last will and testament for your loved ones is an act of love and consideration, according to David Thomson, Senior Legal Adviser at Sanlam Trust. By drafting a will, you can specify who will inherit your assets, who will manage your estate, and who will care for your minor children or pets. It is important to note that there are expenses associated with executing a will, and it is essential to ensure there is sufficient money available from your bank accounts or life insurance policies to settle debts, taxes, funeral costs, and estate expenses. To prevent any potential confusion, appointing an executor, such as Sanlam Trust, can effectively manage the instructions in your will. Additionally, it is crucial to inform your family of the whereabouts of your original will, your funeral preferences, the method of payment, and the contact person at your workplace in case of your death.
According to a Senior Legal Adviser at Sanlam Trust, it is beneficial for your family to know the location of your original will, your funeral wishes, how your bills will be paid, and who to contact at your workplace in case of your passing.
When creating a will, there are seven essential aspects that must be considered:
- It is important to have your will prepared by a qualified expert such as a financial planner or an institution like Sanlam Trust.
- It is crucial to designate an executor who can manage the process of settling your estate. This individual will have the responsibility of reporting your passing to the appropriate authorities, gathering all of your assets, closing bank accounts, and opening an estate bank account. It is important to appoint a capable person for this role.
- Ensure that you specify who should receive what, from your closest family members to any charitable organizations.
- If you have minor children, it may be necessary for you to designate a trustee or trustees to take care of them.
- To validate your will, you must choose two witnesses who are over 14 years old, mentally sound, and not beneficiaries in your will, to initial each page.
- It is essential to keep the signed original will in a secure location since it is the only document that the High Court master will recognize upon your demise.
- It's important to keep your will in a secure location. Some trust companies offer the service of storing clients' documents in their fireproof vaults for a fee. It's also a good idea to inform your closest family members or financial planner about the location of the original document.
It is suggested that leaving a legacy of who you are and how you lived is important and a will could be an ideal way to ensure that your estate benefits your loved ones, irrespective of its size, after you pass away.
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