Mistakes to avoid when it comes to your will

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April 17, 2019
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You might think that simple, one-page documents are all you need to transfer ownership of your possessions to your heirs. However, that is not the case. You might want to keep things simple and uncomplicated, however, if you oversimplify your will, your family could be left behind to deal with the complications of having an oversimplified will.

The following are common mistakes made when drafting your will, as well as how you can avoid these mistakes and make life a whole lot simpler for your heirs:

  1. Stay away from overcomplicated wording

When South African courts interpret a will, they will look at the ordinary meaning of words and phrases that were used in the will. Therefore, it is very important to make use of clear and concise language, to avoid any miscommunication or misunderstanding. A qualified financial provider who has specialist fiduciary expertise will be able to provide you with the guidance you need to ensure that your final wishes are interpreted correctly.

  1. Stay away from overcomplicated structures

Having a simple, yet properly drafted will, ensures a speedy and cost-efficient transfer of assets to your heirs.

  1. It’s not all about saving on taxes

Do not get obsessed with saving on taxes in your estate plan, you could end up overlooking the practical needs of your heirs.

  1. Don’t be a burden to your executor/trustees

Remember, the structures that you put in place will have to be implemented and administered by the executor/trustees, and if the structures put in place are too complicated, your family could suffer.

  1. Be flexible

When thinking about the movement of assets or the transfer of wealth, think carefully when restricting them, as this could’ve benefited your heirs.

  1. Make a well-informed decision over who you appoint as your executor

If you make a well-informed decision and choose your executor with the utmost care, you can get incredible tax savings on the estate administration process.

  1. Do not neglect your duties

When drafting your will, you can leave your assets to whoever you please, however, you cannot neglect your duties or interests of your dependents.

  1. Make sure to ask your children what they want

It’s important to consider your children’s existing trusts and other estate planning vehicles that they may already have.

  1. Add your will to your financial plan

Your will should be included in your financial plan, and your financial advisors and estate planners should know of each other’s work. This way, you could avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings.

  1. Do not postpone the inevitable

Last but definitely not least, do not postpone the inevitable. Never underestimate the impact that an improperly drafted will, or no will, can have on those you leave behind.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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