Busting common myths about having a Will.

Your Will forms an important cornerstone of your Estate Plan, but your Will is not your Estate Plan. Your Will is your final instructions on how your assets should be divided when you pass. There are, however, some common myths around Wills.

The first myth, what happens if you die without a Will?

When you die without a Will, your assets will not go to the state. They will be distributed in terms of your family bloodlines in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act. If you are married and have children, they are the first to inherit. Where you do not have a spouse or children, your parents are then considered, and if they are no longer alive, it follows to your brothers and sisters etc. People who were financially dependent on you also have a right against your estate. It is complicated and may cause fighting amongst your family, but the worst part is that an Executor, who is appointed by the government, will administer and divide your assets.

The second myth – You need to have more than a certain amount of assets to have a Will.

This is simply not true as our legislation allows everyone, even if you just own your clothes, to have a Will. Your Will must however comply with certain minimum standards as set out in the Wills Act.
This includes that your Will must be in writing and every page must be signed by you. Your Will also needs to be dated and witnessed by two competent witnesses. A competent witness is anyone over the age of 14 who is of sound mind and who does not inherit in terms of your Will. Please bear in mind that should your Will be disputed, the witnesses may be called to testify in a court of law.

The third myth – The executor decides what happens to your assets. 

The Executor’s role is to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. The Executor must report to the Master of the High Court. When you pass away, the executor will be appointed by the Master. A letter of Authority will be issued, and the Executor will take control of your assets for the purpose of distributing them in terms of your Will. Once all your assets have been distributed, the Executor needs to submit a liquidation and distribution account to the Master.

It is important that you keep an originally signed Will in a secure place and more importantly let your family know where it is kept. Make sure your Will is current. You can change your Will as often as you want – you do however need to make sure that is properly signed and dated.

If you need advice on drafting your Will, or you require assistance with your estate plan, use the Contact Us button to speak to us for more information.

Deciphering a world of Financial Terminology

I often listen to money programs and read articles about money and the one thing that always gets to me is all the jargon. As a client of some financial institution, the documents provided to you are also built on financial jargon. Sometimes, I even must do some research on the acronyms used in documents and proposals to make sense of the information provided to clients.

The problem, for human beings in general, is that we do not like reading documents that we do not understand, or we read them with such a low level of comprehension that we never really understand what is explained to us and what we sign for.

Whilst financial service providers are aiming to make great strides in trying to, as they call it. “plain language” their documents, there is still a lot to be done. As a financial planner and life coach, I have realized that people trust easily, and sometimes the explanations are not always as forthcoming as they should be. It will also lead to you not understanding what you are buying. The problem is when you need a financial product to solve a need, it is then when this creeps up on you and you have no where to turn to.

Introducing the Jargon buster for financial services.

For consumers that follow us on social media, we will be helping you to decipher (to a point) the jargon used in financial documents and schedules. We will weekly post a specific term, its commonly known “alias’ as well as a short explanation. In doing this, we are trying to equip you to read financial documents with a bit more comprehension.

As the great Arnold Glasow said: “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied”, we will also recommend an action for you to take concerning the specific term. Not only will this help you remember the meaning better, but it will also empower you to make better decisions with regards to your money. After all, it is not how much money you have, it’s how you make your money work for you that will help you gain financial control.

We have also created a Jargon Buster dictionary, that will be regularly updated. You can view the Jargon Buster here.

Got a term that you need help with?

Click on the Contact Us page, send us your request and we will add it to our Jargon Buster.