UNFORTUNATELY, the day of reckoning happens for all of us — so it is important to prepare and organise as best as you can for those loved ones you leave behind.
WHY MAKE A WILL?
A will is often put on the long finger. However, every adult should make a will. Doing so ensures that your wishes are known to all and taken into account in the care for those loved ones you leave behind.
Did you just purchase a new home? Did you just have a baby? Have you lost a loved one? Whenever there is a major change in your life, you should make a will (if you have not already done so) or indeed change your will to reflect those changes in your life.
For those with infants, minor or vulnerable children, it is particularly important to make a will in order to ensure that your loved ones are cared for and protected in the event of your early demise.
It is important to note that a will only speaks from death so it can be changed throughout your life to reflect any changes in your personal circumstances.
It is also important to note that you can enjoy your assets freely irrespective of what is in your will.
It is important to always consult a solicitor when you are thinking of making a will as he/she will be able to advise you on all of the many different factors which should be taken into account.
ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES: WHAT IS THE 'ESTATE'?
When a person dies, everything he/she owned except assets where ownership ceases on death or passes automatically is referred to as the deceased’s “estate”.
IS THERE A WILL?
After payment of debts and taxes, the estate is divided among the beneficiaries in accordance with the deceased’s will — or, if there is no will, among the closest relatives in accordance with rules set out in the Succession Act.
A legal personal representative will either be named in your will or, where there is no will, a close relative can fulfil the role. The personal representative will be tasked with administering your estate when you are gone. The role of a personal representative is an important one. They must establish your assets and debts, protect your estate pending the administration of same and they must administer your estate in accordance with your will or with rules in the Succession Act.
It is important for a legal personal representative to seek the advices of a solicitor to ensure that the estate is correctly dealt in accordance with the law.