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The Importance Of Having A Will

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Sanlam and Brand Atlas have done a survey that indicated that more than 50% of South Africans do not have a will.

Moremadi Mabule, Head of Wills Operations at Sanlam Trust, says some trends emerged from the results of the survey.

She says the main reason why people in the black middle class have wills is to ensure that their assets go to the correct people. The survey also found that 50% of white males believed that having a will is more tax efficient.

The survey found that women (46%) are less likely to have wills than men(54%). Mabule says that wills are not only for the wealthy, but for everyone. She advises people to make sure their beneficiary nomination forms are always up to date. These apply to pension, life cover or any money that forms part of your estate.

Personal finance columnist, Maya Fisher-French says that she is surprised at the number of people that have not put a will in place. She believes that not having a will can complicate what happens to your assets and belongings once you are gone.

Fisher-French says that people usually have two main assets. Their homes and their retirement funds. If you have minor children, they will not be able to sign the transaction papers or transfer deeds when it comes to the house.

She says parents need to consider this and ensure they have a will. She advises people to stipulate who is their child’s guardian in the will and specify how funds should be used.

“You can also form something called a testamentary trust in your will this is a trust that comes into effect on your death where your assets are housed and this can actually be ring-fenced and protect for your children so nobody else can spend it,” said Fisher-French.

She explained that life insurance money can be paid into a testamentary trust. If you do not make this type of stipulation, your life insurance would be paid into their bank account and would essentially be controlled by their guardian.

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