National Wills Week will take place between the 13th and 17th of September this year.  National Wills Week is an annual nationwide initiative that invites people to have basic wills drafted free of charge at any of a number of participating firms across South Africa.

The Law Society of South Africa’s website ( lists all of the participating firms.  You can visit the following link to confirm the participating firms in your area.

Why do I need a will?

Every adult should have a will.  Regardless of your assets, you still need a will.  A will is not just about money or possessions – it can contain special requests that you want adhered to when you die, for example, your burial, and who will take care of your pets, etc. If you don’t have a will, when you die, your assets will be dealt with in terms of the law of intestate succession, which means your assets might not go to the people you intended to benefit.

Without a proper will, it’s not guaranteed your children will receive anything from your estate when you pass away so it is especially important for parents to have one so they can appoint a guardian if something happens to both of them. The expectation is usually that one’s spouse will take care of the children, however your spouse could die simultaneously or shortly thereafter, which is why it’s essential to appoint a legal guardian for your children.  Many parents don’t realise that if they don’t properly state their children’s legal guardian in the will, the courts may choose someone to take care of them – and it might be Aunt June who is financially secure but not a very nice person.

What happens if I die without a will?
The rules of intestate succession come into effect in cases where a will was not left to guide the distribution of the estate. This means that your estate will be divided amongst your surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, even distant relatives in some cases, according to a set formula.  For example: Intestate succession in South Africa allows for an estate to be divided between a surviving spouse and children, with the surviving spouse receiving at least R125,000. Excluding this, the estate is then divided equally between spouse and children. If spouses were married in community of property (i.e., they were joint owners) then one half of the estate goes to the surviving spouse and the other half is distributed according to the laws of intestate succession in South Africa.