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What happens to your estate if you don’t have a will?

12 September 2023
1 minute read
mother and daughter

If a person chooses not to draft a Will or a Will is found to be invalid, he or she will be deemed to have died intestate and the laws of the Intestate Succession Act of 1987 will guide how the assets are distributed.

The consequences to the family of someone dying intestate are never ideal and can lead to heartache for those left behind.

  1. You forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and your estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people whom you may not have wanted to benefit from your Estate may inherit your assets and family heirlooms.
  2. Your partner may be left with nothing if you are not married, or your Will is not updated from a previous marriage. By law, the spouse and then closest blood relatives will receive the inheritance.
  3.  Should both parents be deceased, the court will appoint a guardian for your children. Your children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed guardian rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.
  4.  Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of your estate if your final wishes are not clearly documented in a Will.
  5.  Winding up your estate can take years – without a Will, the executor is appointed by the state.

This is where 1Life can help:

1Life Will and Estate Plan is a customised, and affordable online solution that allows you easily complete and update your Will. You receive expert advice and guidance as well as lifetime access for you to make sure your Will is easy to access and always current.

We gather all the necessary information now to execute your estate plan faster. Before you sign your Will, it is checked by specialist fiduciary lawyers to confirm it is correctly drawn up and legally enforceable.

We also act as your personal executor to streamline the finalisation of your estate.

If you are concerned about the legacy you want to leave your loved ones and would appreciate the peace of mind 1Life can give you, read more here or contact your financial adviser for assistance.

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