Estate planning is the process of legally structuring the future disposition of current and projected assets. Estate planning helps you look after your family’s financial security and maximize the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. One of the tools of estate planning is the Last Will and Testament.
A Last Will and Testament is a specialized legal document incorporating your last wishes and requests with regards to your assets and beneficiaries. It therefore dictates how your estate should be divided when you pass away.
If you die without a valid Last Will and Testament, your estate will be distributed in terms of the stipulations of the Intestate Succession Act 81 of 1987. This may include beneficiaries whom you may not have wished to benefit, or exclude persons whom you would have preferred to benefit.
It is possible to write a Will all by yourself or make use of a generic template without the help of an Attorney. However, there are plenty of pitfalls when drawing up your own Will. For this reason, a do-it-yourself (DIY) will is potentially dangerous and should be avoided.
Possible pitfalls may include the following:
As you will note from the above, a Last Will and Testament is an intricate legal document that must be drafted correctly in order to ensure its validity. It is, therefore, important to have a seasoned practitioner, with the necessary knowledge and expertise, to assist you in drawing up your Will.
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