Can I amend my Will?

Having a Will is a final statement of how you want your assets to be managed after your death. However, sometimes you may want to change it. You may have had a child, for example, and want to add him/her into your Will. You may have also acquired more assets and would like to reconsider how they get divided among your possible heirs.

What is a Codicil?

When you want to add something to your Will or make a minor change, then you can make use of a Codicil. A Codicil is a minor addition or minor amendment to an existing Will. The legal requirements for a valid Will also apply to a Codicil. A Codicil needs not be signed by the same witnesses who signed the original Will.

What if I want to amend my Will?

  1. All amendments to a Will must comply with the legal requirements as stipulated in the Wills Act. If you want to make material amendments to an existing Will, it is always advisable to draft and sign a new Will.
  2. The original Will and the Codicil are separate documents, signed at different times and not necessarily before the same witnesses.

Must I amend my Will after divorce?

A bequest to your divorced spouse in your Will, which was made prior to your divorce, will not necessarily fall away after divorce.

  1. The Wills Act stipulates that, except where you expressly provide otherwise, a bequest to your divorced spouse shall not take effect if you die within three months of the divorce.
  2. This provision is to allow a divorced person a period of three months to amend his/her Will, after the trauma of a divorce.
  3. Should you however fail to amend your Will within three months after your divorce, your divorced spouse will benefit as indicated in the Will.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

References:

http://www.justice.gov.za/master/m_deseased/deceased_wills.html

 

When is there a cooling-off period after a sale; allowing a purchaser to have second thoughts?

Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) provides for a cooling-off period if a transaction results from direct marketing, allowing a purchaser to get out of a sale agreement. It is often mistakenly thought that this applies to all transactions where the CPA applies. This is not so.

Section 16 of the Consumer Protection Act says:

A consumer may rescind a transaction resulting from any direct marketing without reason or penalty, by notice to the supplier in writing …, within five business days after the later of the date on which

  1. The transaction or agreement was concluded; or
  2. The goods that were the subject of the transaction were delivered to the consumer.

What is direct marketing?

The Act defines direct marketing as follows:

“direct marketing” means to approach a person, either in person or by mail or electronic communication, for the direct or indirect purpose of-

   (a)   promoting or offering to supply, in the ordinary course of business, any goods or services to the person; or

   (b)   requesting the person to make a donation of any kind for any reason;

 This means that if you conclude a transaction for the supply of goods or services in response to an unsolicited offer made to you in person, or by telephone or by email, you can get out of the transaction within five business days.

The “cooling-off” period does not apply to sales that result from any other form of marketing such as conventional print advertising or any transaction concluded when a customer buys goods in a shop.

How can you get out of the transaction?

You can do this by without reason and without having to pay a penalty, by simply giving notice to the supplier in writing, or in another recorded manner and form.

You must give the notice within five business days after the date on which-

(a)   the transaction or agreement was concluded; or

(b)   the goods were delivered;

whichever is the later date.

Cooling-off period when buying certain residential property

Under the Alienation of Land Act, residential property transactions for R 250 000.00 or less are also subject to a “cooling-off” period of five working days. This does not apply to residential properties sold for more than R 250 000.00. This provision remains in place and is not affected by the CPA.

Section 29A of the Alienation of Land Act says that a purchaser may revoke the offer to buy the land or the deed of sale within five days after signing the offer or deed of sale personally or through an authorized agent acting on written authority.

The written notice to revoke must be signed personally or by an authorized agent and must be unconditional.

Where an offer is revoked or deed of sale is terminated within the cooling-off period, every person who received any amount from the purchaser or prospective purchaser in respect of the offer or sale, shall refund the full amount of such payment to the purchaser within ten days of the date on which the notice to revoke was delivered to the seller or his or her agent.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal advice. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

5 Reasons to do Estate Planning TODAY

Drawing up a Will and doing Estate Planning may sound like hard work, but here are some reasons why you should do this TODAY:

  1. It means that you are providing for your loved ones:

In addition to looking after your health and the health of your family, you also should be planning for their financial wellbeing after your death.  None of us wants to think about dying, but to neglect planning for it can be disastrous for your family.

  1. No estate is too small for planning:

Even if you think that you do not own much, you need to plan for somebody to be appointed as Executor of your Estate.  You have to make provision for a Guardian if you have minor children, and plan how inheritances of minors should be managed after your death.

  1. With proper advice, the process is not complicated:

You may think that Estate Planning is complicated and difficult.  Now is the time to discuss with our experts the questions you have.  They can explain the process, and advise on which documents you need to have drawn up.

  1. Estate Planning need not be time-consuming:

Once you have discussed the basics with one of our experts and taken the important decisions, most of the planning process can be done via email or the telephone.  We will then finalize the documents for your signature, and assist you with the formalities.

  1. Spending money now will save money later:

Yes, it will cost money to have an attorney draw up your Will and Estate Plan, but having a properly drawn up Will, which has been executed (signed) correctly, ensures that there will be no complications after your death.  If your Estate Plan is updated regularly to take into account any changes in legislation, you also ensure that no unnecessary taxes are paid after your death.

Should you want to draw up a Will, or update your Will, or simply check that your Estate Plan still meets your needs, you are most welcome to contact our Trust and Estate Planning Department today.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)