As, according to Professor Meyerowitz, nothing is more uncertain than life and nothing more certain than death, a Will forms an integral part in the circle of life.
A Will, in a nutshell, represents the wishes of the client in terms of which his estate assets are distributed amongst his beneficiaries, dependants and loved ones still affecting their lives for years after his demise.
The document should therefore only be finalized after a thorough evaluation of:
- All the assets and liabilities of a client
- The different components to such assets and liabilities
- The needs of dependants and family members in order to enhance family harmony and to prevent undue hardship befalling them
- Provision for future maintenance for minors from a previous marriage in order to prevent claims against the estate
- Special provision for mentally disabled dependants
- Buy and Sell Agreements, complying with the conditions of the Estate Duty Act
- Liquidity of any business in order to ensure the successful continuation thereof
- The practical utilizing of all rebates in terms of the Estate Duty Act
As skills in the use of words have to be combined with a thorough knowledge of the Wills Act and other legislation a Will should be drafted by a professional draftsman and not a layman. The way in which a bequest is made may involve consequences that might have neither been contemplated nor desired by the Testator.
A well drafted Will should:
- Be easy to understand by any person, able to understand a Will, and not be misunderstood
- Not be ambiguous
- Be in a logical order
- Be practical to implement
- Comply with the statutory requirements