This is such an important question to ask, as most people that have drafted a will believe that having drawn up a will is enough.
Unfortunately, this is not the case and it is critical that you and your loved ones know exactly where your most recent will is. The reason for this is that there is presumption in law that states that if the testator/testatrix has a valid will that cannot be located after death, that the testator/testatrix has destroyed his will with the intention that his estate should be wound up in terms of the Law of Intestate Succession.
This simply means that some people may end up as beneficiaries in your estate that may not have been your intention and this may be against your ‘will’.
Why is it so important to have a well drafted Will?
A large part of your life has been spent working and accumulating assets and this has probably taken place over a long time. Most people have very specific ideas as to what should happen to their assets in the event of their death. It is important that your intentions are complied with after your death and that the appointed executor correctly interprets your intentions and all assets are dealt with. What if someone you have nominated as a beneficiary dies before you do and your will does not make provision for substitute heirs?
In the instances listed above, the executor will either have to approach the High Court for guidance (these costs will be paid for from your estate) or the particular assets will be dealt with in terms of the Law of Intestate Succession.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as 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 financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)