More than 75% of South Africans pass away without a valid will in place, causing devastating consequences for their families and dependants.
To help combat this statistic, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) promotes National wills week, every year, and participating attorneys offer their will-drafting services for basic wills at no cost to clients.
wills Week is normally in September, but due to Covid-19 and lockdown, the LSSA has officially announced that National wills Week will be from 26 – 30 October this year.
Why have a National Wills Week?
The reality is that most people know they need a will, but statistics show that South Africans are notorious procrastinators.
In a recent survey we conducted, we asked people why they haven’t got their wills in order. The results?
- 43% of respondents said: “I just haven’t got around to it”.
- 27% said: “I’m not sure where to get my will done”.
- 21% said: “I think it might be expensive to get a will”.
- Only 9% of respondents said they think they don’t need a will.
So, with more than 75% of South African’s passing away without a will in place, it’s not necessarily an awareness issue – it’s an education issue. People need to know what devastating consequences their families and dependants will face if they were to pass away without a will.
In our business, we see the reality of families struggling to deal with the loss of a loved one almost every day. This struggle is infinitely more difficult when the parent’s affairs are not in order.
Having a National Wills Week is so important – but it’s not enough. For us, every week is wills week. We’re actually making it wills month. When we see how we are helping families in their darkest hour, we are still further motivated to continue our quest to change the stats of a nation.
The top 5 consequences of passing away without a will
- You forfeit the opportunity to decide who inherits what and your estate is distributed according to South African law. This means people whom you may not have wanted to benefit from your Estate may inherit your assets and family heirlooms.
- Your partner may be left with nothing if you are not married, or your will is not updated from a previous marriage.
- Your children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed guardian rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.
- Family feuds often occur when family members argue over the distribution of your estate if your final wishes are not clearly documented in a will.
- Winding up your estate can take years – without a will appointing a professional executor, the government is essentially in control of the process.
“Your children’s inheritance could pass to the Government Guardian’s Fund or appointed guardian rather than to a Trust that will ensure your wishes for them are carried out.”
At Capital Legacy, we have dedicated the last 8 years to helping more South Africans get valid wills in place. We have helped more than 300 000 people to date and are committed to changing the statistics of our nation.
Part of our efforts in this endeavour is to help more people understand why it’s important to finalise their will, the other part is to make it easy and convenient for them… so there’s no excuse not to get this important task done.
Our mission is to help more South Africans get valid wills in place and change the shocking statistics we see in the market. Please don’t procrastinate – get your will sorted today.
Alex Simeonides – CEO and co-founder of Capital Legacy.