Windhoek-If you were to die today, how would your family get by without the support you provide? Do you have a plan on how your money and assets will be distributed to loved ones? Are your documents in order or would you leave your family the painful task of scrambling through your documents to sort out your estate, settle your debt and sell off any property you might have?
“While we all hope to be blessed with long lives, the fact is that death is a part of the circle of life which can happen unexpectedly. Knowing this, regardless of how much money you make, you have a responsibility to ensure your Will is in place and can be found easily in the event of your passing,” said Hilaria Graig, marketing and communications manager at Sanlam.
She explained that a will is a legal written document containing your wishes as to how your property should be distributed upon your passing as well as who should look after your minor children. A will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets.
It assists the surviving spouse or children in the administration of your estate. If you have a will which states how your property and other assets should be divided, your surviving spouse, children and even your extended family will receive any benefits as assigned to them in your will.
The following are few things to consider when preparing your will:
Take the time to draft your will – preparing a will can be a daunting and emotionally draining activity as it forces you to think about your possible death as well as how you will ensure your property, money, children and any other assets are taken care of and distributed. It is not something to be taken lightly so put in the time and do it correctly.
Use a professional – its best when drafting your Will to approach an accredited financial planner to assist you in drafting your Will. This is because the financial planner is an expert and will take the time to go through all the steps with you while asking the right questions to ensure nothing is left out.
Choose your executor well – every Will requires an executor to be named. This is the person who you give the legal responsibility to take care of all your remaining financial obligations, which includes everything from disposing of your property, paying off your debit and taxes, etc. It is also useful to appoint two executors in case one of them dies before you. While you are free to appoint anyone from your spouse and children above the age of 18 to be your executor, it is advisable to have someone with specialist knowledge appointed as your executor. This is because the process can be long and cumbersome and you want to avoid mistakes being made.
Appoint a guardian for your children – if any of your children are younger than 18, your will is the correct tool to use to appoint guardians for them. These are the people, who will care for your children. Again, it is important to appoint at least two people to take over this role. This is because the one person might refuse or might have passed away before you and you had not reviewed or updated your Will. It is important when choosing a guardian for your children to first speak to the person and ensure they accept the responsibility and will take good care of your children upon your passing.
Review your Will – While it is important to draw up a Will, it is equally important to review it every so often especially when your circumstance change. This can happen either when you get married, divorced, have a baby or buy new property. Reviewing your will during these important changes in your life helps to ensure the will is up to date and everything is still as you would like it to be.
Keep your Will safe – a Will is very important document and should be kept in a safe place but where it can be found upon your passing. The best way of doing this is keeping a copy with your financial planner or with your family lawyer.
Creating a Will minimises any tensions among survivors and extended family members. Relatives battling over your possession can weaken strong family bonds and leave families divided for years.