One of my New Year resolutions is to get a will drafted, but I am not sure where to go to get one.
CITY PRESS REPLIES:
There are many options in terms of drafting a will. If you have a simple estate, there are many free or inexpensive options.
If you have a more complicated estate, or children are involved, it is best to hire the services of a fiduciary expert such as a lawyer or accountant.
Banks often offer free will-drafting services to their clients and there are even free online will-drafting services by legal practitioners.
Remember, however, there are never any “free lunches” and in many of these cases the bank or legal services provider elects itself as the executor of the estate.
The selection of an executor is an important part of your will, as this is the person who will be responsible for executing the wishes of your will when you pass away.
When it comes to selecting your executor, Angélique Visser of Baraza Wealth says you can appoint a family member or other responsible person.
If the value of your estate is below R250 000 when you die, the Master of the High Court will issue a letter of authority and not a letter of executorship.
This means that a very simple process can be followed to administer the estate and a professional will not have to attend to the administration process.
If, however, your estate value is greater than R250 000, then the family member will be required by the Master of the High Court to be assisted with the administration process by a professional or trust company, as there are many laws to comply with and not everyone is familiar with them.
You can make a recommendation in your will as to which professional to use, although Visser says the death of a family member is not necessarily a good time to be discussing executor and administration fees.
In this case it may be better to appoint a professional who specialises in fiduciary matters – or a trust company – directly in your will and agree on the fees upfront.
Visser says it is highly recommended that you discuss the executor’s fees with your appointed executor and agree to a fair fee prior to the will being drafted.
The fee, which must be included in your will, is determined by the complexity and type of assets in the estate, for example, if there are business interests or offshore assets to consider.
It is also a good idea to involve your financial adviser in the process, or at least provide your full financial details to the person drafting your will.
Visser says even if you are using a fiduciary expert to draft your will, they should know what your financial situation is with regards to estate duty and capital gains tax consequences, as well as how certain investment policies will be treated, and be familiar with your marriage contract.
If you are looking for a simple will, Sanlam Trust (sanlam.co.za) is offering an online will-drafting service with a R57 per annum custodian fee to safely house your will.
You follow a questionnaire regarding your assets, your children and further details regarding your estate. You can select your own executor or appoint Sanlam Trust.