#NationalWillsWeek: Get your Will drafted for free by an attorney

This week is National Wills Week and you can have a basic will drafted by an attorney free of charge.
When you have a will, you tell everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’).

The assets you leave behind can hold both financial and sentimental value, and you may want specific items to be inherited by a certain family member or friend.  If you don’t leave a will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.

Christel Botha from Alexander Forbes Fiduciary Services Manager says, "a will provides clear instructions and direction as to how assets that took a lifetime to accumulate – having both financial and sentimental value – need to be distributed. It is in your own and your family’s best interests to make sure that you have a valid will in place.”

Completing a will application or giving instructions to draft or update your will call take less than an hour.

Botha offers the following blueprint to ensure one’s final wishes for the distribution of assets and the care of loved ones after death:
  • You will need the following details: personal details, including marriage and divorce information, burial preferences, names and date of birth of any children, details of all local and offshore assets and liabilities; your assurance policies and how you want your estate distributed.
  • Details of your assets and liabilities are a guideline to the executor as to what exists at the time of drafting the will.
  • You need to sign your will in the presence of two competent witnesses, who should be over the age of 14. Botha said witnesses must be unbiased - therefore heirs, legatees or beneficiaries in the will or spouses, executors, trustees and guardians and or spouses may not be witnesses.
  • It is vital to review your will immediately after getting divorced. If you pass away within three months after the divorce, it will be presumed that the bequest to your spouse is deleted from your will.  However, if you pass away after the three-month period (following the divorce) and fail to amend your will, your former spouse may still benefit if so indicated in your will despite the dissolution of the marriage.
  • It is not only after divorce that your will should be updated, but after every life-changing event, such as birth of children, marriage, death of partner or beneficiary, or after the disposal of assets specified in your will.  Botha suggests reviewing the document annually.
  • Codicils, an addition or supplement made at a later date that explains, modifies, or revokes a will or part of one, can often confuse matters in cases where many codicils exist and it has not been properly constructed. One should take great care when drafting a codicil to your will.  The suggestion is to rather sign a new will.  Importantly, every new will you sign must revoke any previous will.
Attorneys participating in National Wills Week 

Gauteng attorneys 
Western Cape attorneys 
KwaZulu-Natal attorneys 
Eastern Cape attorneys
Free State attorneys
Limpopo attorneys 
Mpumalanga attorneys 
North West attorneys 
Northern Cape attorneys

Please note:
Only participating attorneys listed in this section will draft free basic wills.
Only new, basic wills will be drafted. No amendments to or redrafting of existing wills.
Please make an appointment with participating attorneys before or during National Wills Week.