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National Wills Week 2018 

The Law of Succession;

The legislation provided in the current South African law of succession prescribes the manner in which a deceased’s assets (collectively referred to as the Estate) are distributed with fairly at the time of death. If the deceased left a valid Will, the rules of testate succession will be applied in winding up of the Estate. If the deceased does not possess a valid Will, the rules of 'intestate' succession is followed to wind-up the Estate.

What is meant by a testament (or a document of Will)?;

A Will is a carefully drafted document that defines the manner and portions in which the assets in a deceased’s Estate is to be distributed amongst the beneficiaries of an individual (or juristic person such as in a trust) and indicates the wishes of the deceased and how the Estate should be disbursed with and dissolved. This included beneficiaries (such as decedents, relatives and friends) as well as creditors and other parties that the Estate has responsibility to compensate. It further provides guidance to the Master of the High Court and the Estate Executor as to how the Estate is to be wound up, giving a person the freedom and piece of mind that his/her wishes are carried out fairly and in accordance with his/her Will.


The implications of neglecting to prepare a 'legally sound' document of Will;

If an individual fails to possess a properly drafted and documented Will, the rules of intestate succession applies (Intestate Succession Act, 1987, Act 81 of 1987), leaving many loopholes to the Late Estate's Beneficiaries, and as such, the deceased’s Estate will not be distributed to desired beneficiaries or according to his/her wishes.


Executorship and the process of administration at the Master of the High Court:

The process is determined by the Master of the High Court and can take between 6 - 12 months to wind-up an Estate. This ensures fair distribution of the testator’s Estate in accordance with his/her wishes during winding-up.

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